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TIte Religion and Philosophy of India 







By Rev. A. S. GEDEN, M.A. 


Edinburgh: T. & T. CLARK, 38 George Street 


ANroviiR- Harvard 

!-.;•■ i^ I'.i 1917 

Divinity School 

vvvv ^y\-^ 

PnnUd , . . 1006 
RepnnUd . . 1908 


Dr. Deussen's treatise on the Upanishads needs no formal 
introduction or commendation to students of Indian 
thought who are familiar with the German language. 
To others I would fain hope that the translation here 
presented, which appears with the author's sanction, may 
serve to make known a work of very marked ability and 
of surpassing interest. As far as my knowledge extends, 
there is no adequate exposition of the Upanishads available 
in English. The best was published by Messrs. Triibner 
more than a quarter of a century ago, and is in many 
respects out of date. As traced here by the master-hand 
of the author, the teaching of the ancient Indian seers 
presents itself in clearest lights and claims the sympathetic 
study of aU lovers of truth. 

For the English rendering I am alone responsible. 
And where I may have failed to catch the precise meaning 
of the original, or adequately to represent the turn of 
phrase, I can only ask the indulgence of the reader. Dr. 
Deussen's style is not easy. And if a more capable hand 
than mine had been willing to essay the task of trans- 
lation, I would gladly have resigned my office. With 
whatsoever care I can hardly hope entirely to have 


escaped error. But for any indication of oversight or 
mistake, and any suggestion for improvement, I shall be 
most grateful. The work has exacted many hours that 
could be ill spared from a very full life. If however it 
conduce in any way to a better understanding of the 
mind and heart of India I shall be amply repaid. 

A. 8. GEDEN. 

December 1905. 


The present work forms the second part of my General 
History of Philosophy. It is however complete in itself ; 
and has for its subject the Philosophy of the Upanishads, 
the culminating point of the Indian doctrine of the 
universe. This point had been already reached in Vedic, 
pre-Buddhist times ; and in philosophical significance has 
been surpassed by none of the later developments of 
thought up to the present day. In particular the S&nkhya 
system has followed out Unes of thought traced for it in 
the Upanishads, and has emphasized realistic tendencies 
already found there {infray pp. 239-255). Buddhism 
also, though of entirely independent origin, yet betrays 
its indebtedness in essential points to the teaching of 
the Upanishads, when its main fundamental thought 
{nirvdnam, the removal of suffering by the removal of 
trishnd) meets us expressed in other words (union with 
Brahman by the removal of kdma) in the passage from 
the Brihadaranyaka quoted below.^ 

The thoughts of the Ved&nta therefore became for 
India a permanent and characteristic spiritual atmosphere, 
which pervades all the products of the later literature. 

1 Brill. 4. 4. 6, infra p. 348. 


o To every Indian Brahman to-day the Upanishads are 
what the New Testament is to the Christian. 

So significant a phenomenon deserved and demanded 

a more comprehensive treatment than it had yet obtained. 

And my hope is to remove in some measure the cloud 

which hitherto has obscured this subject, and to exhibit 

order and consistency in place of the confused mass of 

contradictory conceptions, which alone had been supposed 

, to exist. If the result is not a uniform and unified 

' system, there is yet found a regular historical develop- 

. ment, the key to which is an original, abrupt and daring 

idealism ; and this in its further progress by a twofold 

concession, on the one hand to traditional beliefs, and on 

the other to the empirical prepossessions natural to us 

fll, was gradually developed into that which we, adopting 
Vestem phraseology if not always in a Western sense, 
all pantheism, cosmogonism, theism, atheism (Sdnkhya), 
and deism (Yoga). Chap, ix., "The Unreality of the 
Universe " (pp. 226-239), which by its paradoxical title 
attracts attention and provokes contradiction, or the final 
survey at the close of the book (p. 396 ff".), may well 
serve as a first introduction to these oriental teachings. 

A remarkable and at fii'st sight perplexing feature in 
this entire evolution of thought is the persistence with 
which the original idealism holds its ground, not annulled 
or set aside by the pantheistic and theistic developments 
that have grown out of it. On the contrary it remains 
a living force, the influence of which may be more or 
less directly traced everywhere, until it is finally abandoned 
by the Sankhya system. Adopted by the Vedanta it is 
proclaimed as the only " higher knowledge " (lyard vidyd). 


and contrasted with all those realistic developments 

which together with the creation and transmigration 

doctrines are known as the "lower knowledge" {apa7*d 

vidyd)y and are explained as accommodations of the written 

revelation to the weakness of human understanding. 

This accommodation theory of the later Ved&ntist teachers 

is not wholly baseless, and needs correction only in the 

one point that this adjustment to the empirical capacity 

of the intellect (which works within the relations of time, 

space and causality) was not intentional and conscious, 

but unconscious. In this shape the idea of accommodation 

becomes a key which is fitted to unlock the secrets not 

only of the doctrinal developments of the Upanishads, 

but of many analogous phenomena in Western philosophy. 

For the practice of clothing metaphysical intuitions in the 

forms of empirical knowledge is met with not only in 

India, but also in Europe from the earliest times. And 

for that very reason no account would have been taken 

of it had not Kant demonstrated the incorrectness of 

the whole procedure, as I hope to show in detail in the 

later parts of my work. 







I. The Place of the Ufanibhadb in the Literature of the 
Veda 1-16 

1. The Veda and its Divisions . 

2. Brdhmapa, Ara^yaka, Upanishad 

3. The Upanishads of the three older Vedas 

4. The Upanishads of the Athai-vaveda 

5. On the Meaning of the word Upanishad 



IL Bbief Sumhart of the Hibtort of the Upanibhads lG-38 

1. The earliest Origin of the Upanishads . .16 

2. The extant Upanishads . . . .22 

3. The Upanishads in B^dartiya^ia and S'ankara . 20 

4. The most important Collections of Upanishads . . 33 

III. The Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads and its 
Significance ....... 38-50 

1. The Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads . 38 

2. The Conception of the Upanishads in its relation to 

Philosophy . . . . . . .40 

3. The Conception of the Upanisliads in its relation to 

Religion ....... 44 




iNTRODUOnON • . . . • . . 51-53 


I. On the Possibility of Knowing Brahman . . 54-85 

1. Is the Veda the Source of the Knowledge of Brahman ? . 54 

2. Preparatory Means to a Knowledge of Brahman . 60 

3. Sacrifice ....... 61 

4. Asceticism {taf>as) . . . . .65 

5. Other Preliminary Conditions . . . .70 

6. The Standpoint of Ignorance, of Knowledge, and of 

superior Knowledge in relation to Brahman . . 74 

II. The Search for Brahman ..... 85-99 

1. The Atman (Brahman) as the Unity 

2. Bilaki's Attempts at Explanation 

3. S'dkalyu's Attempts at Explanation . 

4. Six inadequate Definitions . 

5. Definitions of the Atman Vais'vunara 

6. Ndrada's gradual Instruction . 

7. Three different^ Atmans 

8. Five different Atmans 


III. Stmboligal Representations of Brahman . . 99-125 

1. Introduction and Classification . . .99 

2. Brahman as Pra^ia and V&yu . . .101 

3. Other Symbols of Brahman . .111 

4. Attempts to interpret the symbolical Representations of 

Brahman . .117 

5. Interpretations of and Substitutes for Ritual Practices 119 

IV. The essential Brahman ..... 126-157 

1. Introduction . . . . . . .126 

2. Ikaliman as Being and not-Being, Reality and not-Reality . 1:28 

3. Brahman as Consciousness, Thought (cit) . .132 

4. Brahman as Bliss (dnanda) ..... 140 

5. Negative Character and Unknowableness of the essential 

Brahman . . . . _ . . 146 

V. Brahman and the Universe .... 157-179 

1. Sole Reality of Brahman . . . . .157 

2. Brahman as the cosmical Principle .... 159 

3. Brahman as the psychical Principle .... 166 

4. Brahman as a Personal God (tcvara) . .172 




iTI. Brahman as Creator op the Univbrss . . 180-201 

1. Introduction to the Cosmology .... 180 

2. The Creation of the Universe and the Doctrine of the 

Atman . . . .182 

3. The Creation of Inorganic Nature .... 186 

4. Organic Nature . . . .195 
6. The Soul of the Universe {HiraiiyagarhJM, Brahmdn) . 198 

VII. Brahman as Prsservsr and Ruler . . 202-219 

1. Brahman as Preserver of the Universe . . 202 

2. Brahman as Ruler of the Universe .... 206 

3. Freedom and Constraint of the WiU . . .208 

4. Brahman as Providence . . . .211 

5. Cosmography of the Upanishads • . . .214 

VIII. Brahman as Destroyer of the Universe . . 219-226 

1. The Kalpa Theory of the later Ved&nta . . .219 

2. Return of Individuals into Brahman . . 221 

3. Return of the Universe as a Whole into Brahman . . 223 

4. On the Ori^n of the Doctrine of the Dissolution of the 

Universe in Brahman ..... 225 

IX. The Unreality of the Universe . . . 226-239 

1. The Doctrine of Uiy& as the Basis of all Philosophy . 226 

2. The Doctrine of Mftva in the Upanishads . . .228 

3. The Doctrine of May& as it is presented under empirical 

Forms .... ... 235 

X. The Origin of the SA^rhya System . . . 239-255 

1. Brief Survey of the Doctrine of the S&nkhya . . 239 

2. Origin of Dualism ...... 244 

3. Origin of the Evolutionary Series .... 246 

4. Origin of the Doctrine of the Gunas .... 250 

5. Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation . . 253 


XI. The Supreme and the Individual Souls . . 256-263 

1. The Theory of the later Veddnta .... 256 

2. Originally only one Soul ..... 257 

3. The Individual Souls by the side of the Supreme . . 258 

4. Reason for the Ateumption of Bodily Form . .261 



XII. The Oroanb of the Soul. 

1. Later^View .... 

2. The Atman and the Organs . 

3. Manas and the ten Indriyas . 

4. The Pra^a and its five Varieties 

5. The Subtle Body and its ethical Qualification 

6. Physiological Conclusions from the Upanishads 

XIII. The States of the Soul 

1. The Four SUtes 

2. The Waking State 

3. Dream-sleep . 

4. Deep Sleep 
6. The TuHya . 





. 296 

. 300 

. 302 

. 305 

. 309 


XIV. Transmigration of the Soul .... 313-338 

1. Philosophical Significance of the Doctrine of Transmigra- 

tion ........ 313 

2. Ancient Vedic Eschatology . . . . .317 

3. The Germs of the Doctrine of Transmigration . . 324 

4. Origin of the Doctrine of Transmi^ation . . 328 

5. Further Development of the Doctiine of Transmigration . 332 

XV. Emancipation ..... 

1. Significance of the Doctrine of Emancipation 


. 338 
Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation . . . 340 

3. The Knowledge of the Atman is Emancipation. Character- 

istics of those who are emancipated . . .344 

4. The Doctrine of Emancipation in Empirical Form . . 355 

XVI. Practical Philosophy . 

1. Introduction . 

2. Ethics of the Upanishads 

3. The Sannyufa . 

4. The Yoga 


. 361 

. 361 

. 373 

. 382 

XVII. Retrospect of the Upanishads and their Teaching. 396-412 

1. Introduction ....... 396 

2. Idealism as the Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads 398 

3. Theology (Doctiine of Brahman or the Atman) . . 401 

4. Cosmology and Psychology ..... 405 

5. Eschatology (Tiansmigration and Emancipation) . . 408 

Index I. Subjects 
„ II. Reference 

. 413 
. 418 





1. The Veda and its Divisions 

It will be remembered that our earlier investigations led 
to a classification of Vedic literature into four principal 
parts, which correspond to the four priestly offices at the 
Soma sacrifice; these are the Rig, Yajur, S&ma, and 
Atharvaveda, each of which comprises a SamhitA, a Brah- 
mana, and a Sutra. The Br&hmana (in the wider sense of 
the term) is then further divided by the exponents of the 
Ved4nta into three orders, which as regards their contents 
are for the most part closely connected with and overlap 
one another, viz. — ^Vidhi, Arthavdda, and Ved&nta or 
Upanishad. The following scheme may be helpful in 
retaining in the memory this primary classification of 
the Veda : — 


L Rigyeda. "^ A, SamhitA. , tt-jv 

TT o^^ J I I «• vinhi. 

Ill' YaW^ f ^' ^^'""*''''- ] 6- Arthavada. 

iv! Att^l^avtda. J ^- S«t«»- '^ '■ VwJ^'""- (Upanishad.) 


A further preliminary remark is that each of the 
above twelve parts of the Veda has been preserved as a 
rule not separately, but in several often numerous forms, 
inasmuch as each Veda was taught in diflferent S'dkhds 
(literally, " branches " of the tree of the Veda), i.e. Vedic 
schools, which in their treatment of the common subject- 
matter varied so considerably from one another that, 
in course of time, distinct works were produced, the 
contents of which nevertheless remained practically 
the same. In particular, each of the three ancient 
Vedas (in the case of the fourth the relations are 
usually different) comprises not one Brahmana, but 
several ; and similarly there exist for each Veda not 
one but several Upanishads. On this subject more will 
be found below. 

2. Brdhmanay Aranyaka, Upanishad 

The link between the Upanishad and the BrS^hmana 
with its very diflferent spirit is as a rule not direct, 
but established ordinarily by means of an Aranyaka or 
^ " forest-book," to the close of which the Upanishad is 
attached, or in which it is included. The name is given 
either because (as Oldenberg supposes, Prol., p. 291), on 
J account of its mysterious character it should be imparted 
to the student not in the village {grdme\ but outside 
of it {aranyCy in the jungle) (cp. the narrative, Brih. 
3. 2. 13, and the names rahasyam^ upanishad), or 
' because from the very beginning it was " a Br&hmana 
•^ appointed for the vow of the anchorite." ^ The contents 
>.of the Aranyakas perhaps favour rather the latter con- 
ception, BO far as they consist mainly of all kinds of 
explanations of the ritual and allegorical speculations 
therein. This is only what might be expected in the life 

^ Aranyaka-ifraUHrilpam brdhmatyjm^ S&yana ; see Aufrecht, Einl. zum AU. 
B}\, p. iii., and cp. Deussen, Upon., p. 7. 

brAhmana Aranyaka UPANISHAD 3 

of the forest as a substitute for the actual sacrificial 
observances, which for the most part were no longer 
practicable ; and they form a natural transition to the 
speculations of the Upanishads, altogether emancipated 
as these are from the limitations of a formal cult. The 
connecting-link is never wanting where the written 
tradition of a S'&kh& has been handed down unbroken 
(as is not the case with the Kdthaka, Svetdsvatara, 
Maitrdyaniya), for both the Aitareyins and KausMtahins 
of the Rigveda and the TaittiriyakcLS and Vdjasaneyins 
of the Yajurveda possess together with the Samhitfi, their 
Brahmana with Aranyaka and Upanishad. Even then, 
if in the schools of the S&maveda the name Aranyaka is 
not employed, yet there also the introductions to the 
Upanishads ^ bear throughout the character of Aranyakas. 
This succession of ritual allegorical and philosophical 
texts, which is really the same in all the S akh&s, may 
be due partly to the order of thought adopted for the pur- 
poses of instruction, in which the Samhit& would naturally 
be followed immediately by the BrS,hmana (so far as this 
was generally taught, cp. Oldenberg, ProL, p. 291); the 
deep mysterious meaning of the ceremonies would then 
be unfolded in the Aranyaka ; and finally the exposition 
of the Upanishads would close the period of Vedic in- 
struction. As early, therefore, as S vet. 6. 22 and Mund. j 
3. 2. 6, and thenceforward, the Upanishads bore the , 
name Veddnta (i.e. " end of the Veda "). On the other ' 
hand it is not to be denied that the order of the texts 
within the canon of each S'&kh& corresponds generally ^ 
to their historical development, and that the position of ^ 
the several parts affords an indication of their earlier or 
later date. • If, however, these two factors that determined 
the arrangement, namely, the tendency to a systematic 
classification of the material for instruction and the 

^ Ch&ndogya Upan. 1-2, Upanisliadbiih. 1-3. 


preservation of the order of chronological development, 
do actually for the most part coincide in their result, this 
is very simply explained on the supposition that in the 
course of time the general interest was transferred from 
the ritualistic method of treatment to the allegorical, 
and from that again to the philosophical. Moreover, the 
separation of the material is by no means strictly carried 
out, but in all three classes, Br&hmanas, Aranyakas, and 
Upanishads, there are found occasionally digressions of 
a ritual as well as allegorical or philosophical nature. 
Especially noteworthy, however, and demanding explana- 
tion is the circumstance that, apart from this occasional 
overlapping of the subject-matter, the broad distinctions 
between Br&hmana Aranyaka and Upanishad are by 
no means always correctly observed ; e.g., among the 
Aitareyins the matter of the BrShmana extends into the 
Aranyaka, while with the Taittiriyakas the close of the 
Brdhmana and the beginning of the Aranyaka agree 
throughout, and the dividing line is entirely arbitrary. 
This state of things is to be explained probably only on 
the supposition that the entire teaching material of each 
S'&kha formed originally a consecutive whole, and that 
this whole was first in the later times distinguished into 
BrS,hmana Aranyaka and Upanishad, on a principle which 
did not depend upon the character of the subject-matter 
alone, but which, though in general correspondence with 
^ it, was in fact imposed from without. Such a principle we 
j seem to be able to recognise in the later order of the four 
dsramas, by virtue of which it became the duty of every 
Indian Brahman first as hralimacdrin to spend a portion 
of his life with a Br&hman teacher, then as griJiastha to 
rear a family and to carry out the obligatory sacrifices, 
in order thereafter as vdnaprastJia to withdraw into the 
solitude of the forest, and to devote himself to self- 
discipline and meditation, until finally in extreme old age. 


purified from all attachment to earth, homeless and with-;' 
out possessions, free from all obligations, he wandered about ' 
as sannydsin {hhikshu, parivrdjaka), awaiting only his 
spirit's release into the supreme spirit. In the instruction \ 
communicated to him the hrahmacdrin was put in posses- 
sion of a rule of conduct for his entire future life. From 
the Brahmana he learnt how, as grihastha, he would have 
to carry out the ritual of sacrifice with the aid of the 
officiating priests; the Aranyaka, as indeed is implied 
in the name, belonged to the period of life as vdnaprastha, 
during which for the most part meditation took the place 
of the sacrificial acts ; and finally the Upanishad taught ^ 
theoretically that aloofiiess from the world which the sann- 
ydsin was bound to realise in practice. Therefore it is 
said of him, that he should " live without the (liturgical) 
precepts of the Veda," but yet " recite the Aranyaka and 
the Upanishad of all the Vedas."^ And as ordinarily 
Aranyaka and Upanishad were blended together, so 
until quite late times, as we shall see, no strict line of 
demarcation was drawn in most instances between 
vdnaprastha and sannydsin. 

3. ITie Upanishads of the three older Vedas 

As the Brahmanas formed the ritual text-books of the 
Vedic S'akh&s, so the Upanishads attached to them were 
originally nothing more that the text-books of dogma, a 
fact which accounts especially for the identity in them all 
of the fundamental thought, which is developed at greater or 
less length and with the utmost variety. The earliest rise 
of the S akhas or Vedic schools, on which this community 
of the ritual, and with it the philosophical tradition de- 
pends, is to be sought in a time in which the contents of the 
Samhit4 were already substantially fixed, and were trans- 
mitted from teacher to pupil to be committed to memory.* 

1 Aru^eya- Up. 2. » Cp. Chand. a 7. 2. 


On the other hand the necessary ritual allegorical 
and dogmatic explanations were communicated to the 
pupils extempore, and from these subsequently the 
oldest Indian prose took its rise. The result was that 
the common material of instruction, which in its essential 
features was already determined, received very various 
modifications, corresponding to the idiosyncrasy of the 
teacher, not only in regard to execution and mystical 
interpretation of the particular ceremonies, but also be- 
cause one laid greater stress on the liturgical, another on 
the dogmatic teaching. Hence it is that the Upanishads 
of the individual schools differ so greatly in length. 
In the course of centuries the originally extempore 
instruction crystallised into fixed texts in prose, which 
I were committed to memory verbatim by the pupil, 
1 while at the same time the divergences between the 
I individual schools became wider. It is therefore quite 
credible that Indian writers should have been able to 
enumerate a considerable number of S'&kh&s, in which 
each Veda was studied. But it is equally intelligible that 
of these many S'&khS^ the majority disappeared in the 
"" struggle for existence, and that for each Veda only a few 
^ prominent S'&kh&s with the Upanishads belonging to them 
have been preserved. We must limit ourselves here for 
general guidance to a mere enumeration of the eleven extant 
Upanishads of the three older Vedas, with the remark, 
however, that in the case of several of these it is doubtful 
whether they are correctly attributed to the S'&khS, 
concerned. A further discussion of this point will be 
found in the Introductions prefixed to my translations of 
the sixty Upanishads. 

Upanishad. S'AkhX. 

I. Rigveda. 

Aitareya Upanishad. Aitareyins. 

EaoBhitaki Upanishad. Kaushitakins. 


II. S&maveda. 

CMndogya Upanishad. T&^dixw. 

Kena (Talavak&ra) Upanishad. Jaiminlyas (Talavak&ras). 
III. Yajurveda— (a) Black. 

Taittiriya Upanishad. ) Taittirlvakafl 

Mah&n&r&yana Upanishad. f laitttnyaiwa. 

E&thaka Upanishad. K&thas. 

S'vetlU'vatara Upanishad. (wanting.) 

Maitr&ya^lya Upanishad Maitrslyaxiiyas. 

(6) White. 

Brihad&ra^yaka Upanishad. ) ... 

M Upanishad. ) vajasaneyins. 

4. The Upanishads of the Atharvaveda 

The case is entirely diflferent with the numerous Upa- 
nishads which have found admission into the Atharva- 
veda. It is true that several of them trace back their 
doctrine to S'aunaka or Pippal&da, or even (as the 
Brahma-Up.) to both together; and according to the 
tradition communicated by N&r&yana and Colebrooke, 
not only single treatises, but complete series of Upani- 
shads were attributed to the S aunaklyas or PippalS.dis. 
But the contradictions of these accounts, as well as the 
circumstance that the most diverse Upanishads refer their 
doctrine to the alleged founders of the Atharvaveda 
S'&khas, S'aunaka and Pippal&da, suggest the conjecture 
that we should see in this little more than an arbitrary 
attachment to well-known names of antiquity; just as 
other Atharva-Upanishads trace back their doctrine to 
Y&jfiavalkhya, to Angiras or Atharvan, or even to Brahma 
Rudra and Praj&pati. Moreover the names of the 
Atharva-Upanishads (apart from a few doubtful excep- 
tions, as Mdnd&kya^ Jdhdla, Paihgala^ Shavank) are no 
longer, as is the case with the Upanishads of the three 
older Vedas, formed on the model of the names of 
the S'&khS^, but are derived partly from the contents 
and partly from any accidental circumstance. This 
proves that in the Atharva-Upanishads we must not 


expect to find the dogmatic text-books of definite Vedic 


^ Many indications (of which more will be said hereafter) 

point to the fact that the leading ideas of the Upanishads, 

the doctrine, namely, of the sole reality of the Atman, of 

^ its evolution as the universe, its identity with the soul, 

J . and so forth, although they may have originated from 

Brahmans such as YSjnavalkhya, yet in the earliest times 

met with acceptance rather in Kshatriya circles^ than 

^ among Br&hmans, engrossed as the latter were in the 

J ritual. It was only later on that they were adopted 

by the Br&hmans, and interwoven with the ritual on the 

lines of allegorical interpretation. 

Under these circumstances it is very probable that the 

S.tman doctrine, after it had been taken in hand by the 

S akhSjs of the three older Vedas, was further prosecuted 

outside of these schools, and that consequently in course 

of time works were published, and have been partially at 

least preserved, which occupy a position as compared 

with the Upanishads of the Rig S&ma and Yajurvedas 

precisely similar to that of the Saihhita of the Athar- 

vaveda to their Samhitas. And as at an earlier date 

^ hymns of various kinds found admittance into this 

^ Samhita, which were partly of too late composition 

"* for the older Samhit&s, and partly were despised by 

J them ; so now again it was the Atharvaveda which opened 

its arms to the late born or rejected children of the spirit 

of atman research. The consequence of this generosity 

was that in course of time everything which appeared in 

the shape of an Upanishad, that is a mystical text, 

* As an illustration of the different relation of Brahmans and Kshatriyas 
to the novel doctrine of the Atman, Bfih. 3-4 may be referred to, where 
Y&jnavalkhya, as exponent of this new doctrine, is met with jealousy and 
doubt on the side of the Brahmans, but by the king Janaka with enthusi* 
astic assent. To this question we return later (infra, p. 17 if.). 


whether it were the expression merely of the religious 
philosophical consciousness of a limited circle or even an 
individual thinker, was credited to the Atharvaveda, or by 
later collectors was included in it without further hesita- 
tion. The regularity with which a given text reappears 
in the diflferent collections forms, as far as we can see, the 
sole mark of its canonicity (if we may use the word in 
such a connection). Guided by this principle we have 
gathered together in our translation of the " Sixty Upani- 
shads" all those texts which seem to have met with 
general recognition. Referring then for further details 
to the Introduction there to the Atharva-Upanishads, we 
propose here, for the sake of a general survey, merely to 
enumerate the more important of these works according 
to the fivefold classification which we have made of 

I. Pure Vedanta Upanishads. — These remain essenti- 
ally faithful to the old Vedanta doctrine, without laying 
more definite stress than is already the case in the older 
Upanishads on its development into the Yoga, Sannyasa, 
and Vaishnavite or S aivite symbolism : — 

Mundaka, Frasnaj MdndHkya (with the K&rik&) ; 
Garbha, Prdndgnihotra, Pinda; 
Atma, Sarvopanishatsdra, GdTiida. 

II. Yoga Upanishads. — These from the standpoint of 
the Vedanta treat predominantly and exclusively of the 
apprehension of the Atman through the Yoga by means 
of the morw of the syllable Om : — 

Brahmavidyd, Kshurikdy CMikd; 

Nddabindu, Brahmahindu, Amritahindu.Dhydna' 

hinduy Tejobindu; 

s'ikhd, Yogatattva, Hamsa, 

III. Sannyasa Upanishads. — As a rule tliese are 
equally one-sided, and enjoin and describe the life 

^ Following, in reality, Weber's example. 


of the Sanny&sin as the practical issue of Upanishad 
teaching : — 

Brahma, Sannydsa, Aruneya, Kanthasruti ; 

Paramahamsay Jdhdla, As^rama. 

IV. S'lVA Upanishads. — These interpret the popularly 
worshipped S'iva (IsSna, Mahesvara, Mah&deva, etc.) as a 
personification of the Atman : — 

Atharvas'iras^ Atharvasikhd^ Nilarvdra; 
Kdldgnirudray Kaivalya. 

V. Vishnu Upanishads. — These explain Vishnu 
(NS.r&yana, Nrisiihha, etc.) similarly in the sense of the 
Upanishad teaching, and regard his various avat&ras as 
impersonations of the Atman : — 

Mahdj Ndrdyana^ Atmahodha ; 
NrisimhapHrvatdpantya^ Nrisimhottaratdpaniya ; 
RdmapHrvatdpanlya^ Rdmottaratdpantya. 

5. On the Meaning of the Word Upanishad 

^ I According to S'ankara, the Upanishads were so named 
, I because they "destroy" inborn ignorance/ or because 
they "conduct" to Brahman.* Apart from these inter- 
pretations, justifiable neither on grounds of philology nor 
•^ of fact, the word Upanishad is usually explained by 
. Indian writers by rahasyam {i.e. "secret," Anquetil's 
secretum tegendum). Thus it is said, for example, in 
Nrisirhh. 8 four times in succession iti raJiasyam, instead 
of the earlier usual form iti upanishad (as is found e.g. at 
the close of Taitt. 2 and 3, Mahanftr. 62. 63. 64). In older 
passages also, where mention is made of Upanishad texts, 
such expressions are used as guhyd' ddesdh,^ paramam 
guhyam,^ vedaguhya-upanishatsu gAdham^^ guhyatamam.^ 

1 S'ankara on Brih. p. 2. 4, KAth. p. 73. 11. 

» Id. on Taitt. p. 9. 6, Mmid. p. 261. 10. 

» CMud. 3. 5. 2. * K&tli. 3. 17, S'vet. 6. 22. 

•S'vet. 6. C. «Maitr. 6. 29. 


The attempt to maintain secrecy with regard to 
abstruse and therefore easily misunderstood doctrines has ^ 
numerous analogies even in the West. To the question 
why He speaks to them in parables Jesus answers, on 
vfjup BiSoTai yv&vai ra fivarripta 7^9 fiaaiXela^ t&v ovpav&v^ 
iKeivoi^ Se ov SeBorai} Pythagoras requires of his pupils 
fjLv<mKn criown;, mystical silence. A saying is preserved of 
Heracleitus, ra t^9 yvdaea^ fiaOrj icpvirreiv airurrvri affadtj, 
Plato finds fault with the art of writing on the ground 
that it ovK iirlararcu "XJyeiv oU Se! ye Koi firj} And 
Schopenhauer demands of his readers as a preliminary 
condition that they should have grappled with the difii- 
culties of Kant. 

The same feeling inspires the warning repeated / 
again and again in the Upanishads, not to impart a j 
certain doctrine to unworthy students. 

Ait Ar. 3. 2. 6. 9 : — " These combinations of letters 
(according to their secret meaning, their upanishxxd) the 
teacher shall not impart to anyone who is not his 
inmiediate pupil (antevdsin), who has not already lived 
for a year in his house, who does not himself intend to be 
a teacher." 

Ch&nd. 3. \l. 5: — " Therefore only to his eldest son 
shall the father as Brahman communicate it (this 
doctrine), but to no one else, whoever he may be." 

ByiL 6. 3. 12: — "This (the mixed drink, mantha^ 
and its ritual) shall be communicated to no one, except 
the son or the pupil." 

SVet. 6. 22 : — " Give it (this supreme secret) to none 
who is not tranquil, who is not a son or at least a 

Mund. 3. 2. 1 1 : — " None may read this who has not 
observed his vow." 

Maitr. 6. 29 : — " This most mysterious secret shall be 
iMt.13. 11. «Pliaedr.276, E. 


imparted to none who is not a son or a pupil, and who 
has not yet attained tranquillity." 

Nrisimh. 1. 3 : — " But if a woman or a Sudra learns 
the Savitri formula, the Lakshml formula, the Pranava, 
one and all go downwards after death. Therefore let 
these never be communicated to such ! If anyone 
communicates these to them, they and the teacher alike 
go downwards after death." 

R§,map. 84 : — " Give it not (the diagram) to common 

The same explanation is to be given of the striking 
feature, which is constantly recurring in the Upanishads, 
that a teacher refuses to impart any instruction to 
a pupil who approaches him, until by persistence 
' in his endeavour he has proved his worthiness to 
receive the instruction. The best known instance of 
this kind is Naciketas in the Kathaka Upanishad, to 
whom the god of death vouchsafes the desired instruction 
, on the nature of the soul and its fate only after the young 
man has steadily rejected all attempts to divert him from 
his wish.^ Indra deals in a similar way with Pratardana,^ 
Raikva with JS^nasruti,^ Satyakdma with Upakosala,* 
Prav&hana with Aruni,* Praj&pati with Indra and 
Vairocana,® Yajnavalkya with Janaka,^ S'dkayanya with 

From all this it follows that the universal tendency 
of antiquity, and of the circle which produced the 
Upanishads, was in the direction of keeping their 
contents secret from unfit persons, and that the Indian 
writers were practically justified in explaining the term 
upanishad by rahasyam, "secret." Less easy is it at 
first sight to understand how the word upanishad has 

1 K&th. 1. 20 f. 8 Kaush. 3. 1. » Chand. 4. 2. 

*Chand. 4. 10. 2. 'ChOnd. 5. 3. 7, Brih. 6. 2. 6. 

« Cbfind. a 8. 4. ' Brih. 4. 3. 1 f. « Maitr. 1. 2. 


come to signify "secret meaning, secret instruction, a 
secret." For w^^anisAod,^ derived as a substantive fromi 
the root sad^ to sit, can only denote a "sitting"; and as 
the preposition upa (near by) indicates, in contrast to , 
parishad, samsad (assembly), a "confidential secret 
sitting," we must assume, even if actual proof is 
wanting, that this name for " secret-sitting " was used also 
in course of time to denote the purpose of this sitting, 
t.6. "secret instruction." Just as the German "college" 
has been transferred from the idea of *' convention " to 
that of the subject-matter of instruction ; so that in such 
an expression as "to read, to hear, etc. a lecture" the 
original meaning of college (from colligere, to collect) is 
altogether forgotten, as in the case of the Upanishads the 
original conception of "sitting." Similar instances are 
quite common, as for example the <f>v<riKal aKpodceL^ of 
Aristotle or the Buirpifiai of Epictetus no longer signify 
lectures, conversations, but definite written compositions. 
Another explanation of the word upanishad has been 
recently put forward by Oldenberg, according to which ' 
upanishad, precisely as updsand, would have originally 
meant "adoration," i.e. reverential meditation on the 
Brahman or Atman.^ The suggestion deserves attention, 
but is open to the following objections. (1) The words 
upa + ds, "to sit before ^someone or something (in adora- 
tion)," and upa + sad (ujya + ni + sad does not occur in 
the Upanishads), " to seat oneself before someone (for the 
purpose of instruction)," are, according to prevailing usage, 
to be carefully distinguished from one another. Even if 
in the older texts the linguistic usage was not yet 
rigorously fixed, yet in the Upanishads (as a glance at 
Jacob's concordance proves), ujxi + ds is always "to 
worship," never "to approach for instruction," and U2Ki-\- 
sad always " to approach for instruction," never " to 

1 Zeitschr. d, Dmtsch. M(nyenl. Gescllschaft, Bd. 60 (189G)» p. 467 f. 



worship " ; and the reason for forming the substantive 
upanishad not from upa + sady but from the rarer upa + 
ni + sad, was perhaps merely that the substantive upasad 
had been already adopted as the name of a well-known 
ceremony preliminary to the Soma sacrifice. (2) Even if 
mention is frequently made of worship of Brahman or the 
atman, especially under a definite symbol (as manaSy^ 
prdriay etc.), yet, strictly speaking, the &tman is not like 
the gods an object of worship, but an object of knowledge. 
Kena 1. 4 f., — " that shouldest thou know as Brahman, 
not that which is there worshipped " {na idam yad idam 
updsate) ; Ch&nd. 8. 7. 1, — " the self {atman) . . . that 
ought man to search after, that endeavour to know " ; 
Brih. 2. 4. 5, — " the self, in truth, should be seen, heard, 
understood, and reflected upon, Maitreyi," etc. The 
two passages of the Upanishads also, which Oldenberg 
cites in proof of worship oflFered to Brahman, tell in 
reality in the opposite direction. In Brih. 2. 1, G&rgya 
declares his worship of this or that as Brahman, until 
finally the king breaks oflf the inquiry with the words, 
" with all that it is not yet known " {na etdvatd viditam 
hhavati). Then he imparts the teaching concerning the 
deep sleeper, and closes with the words, " his upanishad " 
(secret name, not worship) " is * the reality of realities,' " i.e. 
the essence which is implied in all empirical existence. 
And if in Brih. 1. 4 the proposition is laid down that 
not the gods but the S,tman alone should be worshipped, 
by this is to be understood merely a polemic against the 
worship of the gods, not a demand to " worship " the 
§.tman as though it were only a god. This word is 
applicable, therefore, solely to the gods, and is used of the 
&tman only by zeugma,^ and the proof of this is found 

^ If this is disputed, then, to be consistent, from passages like Brih. 2. 4. 
5, — " the &tman in truth should be seen and heai-d,^ etc., the conclusion must 
be drawn that the dtman is visible and audible. 


in what follows when it is said, — "He who worships 
another deity, and says 'He is one, and I am an- 
other,' that man is not wise." ^ Without, however, such 
a conception of the S,tman as "He is one, and I am 
another," which is here interdicted, worship is altogether 
inconceivable, but not perhaps knowledge by immediate 
intuition (anubhava). (3) An attempt to apply the hypo- 
thesis under consideration throughout to the existing facts 
would demonstrate its impossibility. Thus in Taitt. 1. 3 
the secret meaning {upanishad) of the combination of 
letters {samkitd) is explained, and this being concluded 
various rewards are held out in prospect to him " who 
knows these great combinations as thus expounded" 
(ya evam etd makdsamkitd vydkhydtd veda). Here 
merely a knowledge of the combination of the letters is 
required ; there is no mention of any worship in the entire 
paragraph. Or if we take the certainly ancient passage 
Kaush. 2. 1-2, where it is said of the beggar, who knows 
himself as the Self of all beings, — tasya upanishad * na 
ydced ' itiy " his secret sign is not to beg " ; it would be 
very difficult to say what suggestion of '* worship" is 
found in phrases like these. 

If the passages collected in my index to the 
Upanishads under the word Upanishad are examined, it 
will be at once evident that, taken together, they 
involve the meaning, "secret sign, secret name, secret 
import, secret word, secret formula, secret instruction," 
and that therefore to all the meanings the note of secrecy 
is attached. Hence we may conclude that the explana- 
tion oflfered by the Indians of the word upanishad 
as rahasyam^ " secret," is correct. 

1 Bfih. 1. 4. 10. 



1. The earliest OHgin ofth^ Upanishads 

The word Upanishad occurs with three distinct 
mecanings as — 

(1) Secret word. 

(2) Secret text. 

(3) Secret import. 

(1 ) Certain mysterious words, expressions, and formulas, 
which are only intelligible to the initiated, are described 
as Upanishad. These contain either a secret rule for 
action and behaviour, as the na ydcet of Kaush. 2. 1,2, 
quoted above, or secret information on the nature of 
Brahman. When, then, the latter is described as satya^a 
satyarr}, or tad-vanam^ (the final goal of aspiration), there 
is added, "thou hast been taught the Upanishad." Of a 
similar nature are secret words like tajjaldn^ " in him 
(all beings) are born, perish, and breathe," or neti neti.^ 
And when the worship of Brahman under such formulas 
is enjoined, it is not implied that upanishad signifies 

I" worship," but only, as already pointed out, that medita- 
tion on Brahman under these mysterious terms must take 
the place of the worship of the gods. 

(2) The extant texts themselves, as well as the older 
texts underlying them, are called Upanishads. Accord- 
ingly in the Taittirlyaka school especially a section often 
ends with the words, — iti upanishad, 

)(3) Very frequently it is not a word or a text, but the 
secret allegorical meaning of some ritual conception or 
practice, which is described as upanishad; e.g. in ChAnd. 1. 
1. 10, — "for that which is executed with knowledge, 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 20, 2. 3. 6. « Kena 31 (4 6). 

» Ch&nd. 3. 14. 1. * Brih. 2. 3. 6, and often. 


with faith, with the upanishad (knowledge of the secret 
meaning of Udgitha as Om\ that is more eflFective." 

The question suggests itself, which of these three 
significations is the original. We might decide for the 
third, and suppose that an allegorical interpretation was 
assigned to the ritual, and the Upanishad doctrine' 
developed thence. This, however, apparently was not 
the case, and there is much to be said for the view that, as 
already observed above, the conceptions of the Upanishads, 
though they may have originated with the Br&hmans, were 
fostered primarily among the Kshatriyas and not within 
Br&hman circles, engrossed as these were with the ritual. 

The Upanishads have come down to us, like the rest 

of the texts of the three older Vedas, through the Brah- 

mans. All the more striking is it, therefore, that the 

texts themselves frequently trace back some of their most 

important doctrines to kings, i.e. Kshatriyas. Thus, in ; 

the narrative of Ch&nd. 5. 11-24, five learned BrS,hmans 

request from Udd&laka Aruni instruction concerning the 

Atman Vais'v&nara. Udd&laka distrusts his ability to 

explain everything to them, and all the six therefore 

betake themselves to the king Asvapati Kaikeya, and 

receive fix)m him the true instruction, the defectiveness 

of their own knowledge having first been made clear. 

In Byih. 2. 1 (and the parallel passage, Kaush. 4), the 

j {ar-famed Vedic scholar G&rgya BS,l&ki volunteers to 

i expound the Brahman to King Ajfttasatru of K^l, and 

propounds accordingly twelve (in Kaush. 16) erroneous 

explanations ; whereupon to him, the Brahman, the king 

exhibits the Brahman as the S,tman under the figure of 

a deep sleeper, prefacing his exposition with the remark, 

"that is a reversal of the rule, for a Br&hman to betake 

himself as a pupil to a Kshatriya in order to have the 

Brahman expounded to him ; now I proceed to instruct 

you.'* In this narrative, preserved by two difierent Vedic ' 


schools, it is expressly declared that the knowledge of 
; the Brahman as atman, the central doctrine of the entire 
Vedanta, is possessed by the king ; but, on the contrary, 
is not possessed by the Brahman "famed as a Vedic 
scholar." ^ In CMnd. 1. 8-9, two Br&hmans are instructed 
by the king Pravahana Jaivali concerning the dkds'a as 
the ultimate substratum of all things, of which they are 
ignorant. And although it is said in Chand. 1. 9. 3 
that this instruction had been previously imparted by 
Atidhanvan to Udarasandilya, yet the names allow of 
the conjecture that in this case also a BrS,hman received 
instruction from a Kshatriya. Similarly Ch&nd. 7 contains 
the teaching given by Sanatkumara, the god of war, to 
the Brahman Narada. Here the former pronounces in- 
adequate the comprehensive Vedic learning of the Brah- 
man with the words : " all that you have studied is 
merely name."* Finally the leading text of the doctrine 
of the soul's transmigration, which is extant in three 
diflFerent recensions,* is propounded in the form of an 
instruction given to Aruni by the king Pravahana Jaivali.* 
The king here says to the Brfi,hman : — " Because, as you 
have told me, Gautama, this doctrine has never up to 
the present time been in circulation among BrS,hmans, 
therefore in all the worlds the government has remained 
in the hands of the warrior caste." ^ 

When we consider that the passages quoted discuss 
such subjects as the knowledge of Brahman as atman,* the 
knowledge of this &tman as the all-quickener,^ and the 

1 Kaush., Ic. « Ch&nd. 7. 1. 3. 

' Ch«^nd. 5. 3-10, B|*ih. 5. 2, and with considerable variations Kaush. 1. 

* In Kaush., i.c., by C'itra G&ngy&yana. 

'^Ch&nd. 5. 3. 7 ; in Bfih. 6. 2. 8 the words are:— "As surely as I wish 
that you, like your ancestors, may remain well-disposed to us, so surely up 
to the present day this knowledge has never been in the possession of a 

« Brih. 2. 1, Kaush. 4. ' Ch&nd. 6. 11 f. 


fate of the soul after death/ that is, precisely the most 
important points of Upanishad teaching ; that not only 
is the king represented in them as endowed with wisdom, 
but is expressly contrasted with the Brahman who is 
ignorant or deluded ; and that these narratives are 
preserved to us by the Vedic S'S^khas, and therefore by 
the Brahmans themselves ; we are forced to conclude, if not 
with absolute certainty, yet with a very high degree of 
probability, that as a matter of fact the doctrine of the 
&tman^ standing as it did in such sharp contrast to all the 
principles of the Vedic ritual, though the original concep- 
tion may have been due to Brahmans, was taken up and 
cultivated primarily not in Brahman but in Kshatriya 
circles, and was first adopted by the former in later times. 
The fact, moreover, which is especially prominent in the 
last quoted passages, that the Brahmans during a long 
period had not attained to the possession of this knowledge, 
for which they nevertheless display great eagerness, is 
most simply explained on the supposition that this teach- 
ing with regard to the &tman was studiously withheld! 
fix)m them ; that it was transmitted in a narrow circle! 
among the Ejshatriyas to the exclusion of the Brahmans ;1 
that, in a word, it was upanishad. The allegorical method ' 
of interpreting the ritual in the light of the atman 
doctrine, though it may have been already practised 
among the Kshatriya circles, was probably undertaken on 
a larger scale after the adoption of the new doctrine by 
the Br&hmans. It would follow that the third of the 
above-mentioned meanings of the word upanishad as 
** secret import" (of some ritual conception) is probably 
in the first instance secondary. If we ask further, which 
of the two other meanings, (1) secret word, (2) secret text, 
is the more primitive, it would seem that a transition 
from the second to the first is with difiiculty intelligible, 

1 Ch&nd. 6. 3 f., Brih. 6. 2. 


-» but that the first passes into the second by a natural and 
readily comprehended change. 

We may therefore assume that the doctrine of the 
atman as the first principle of the universe, the gradual 
rise of which we have traced through the hymns of 
the Rigveda and Atharvaveda, was fostered and pro- 
- gressively developed by the Kshatriyas in opposition to 
the principles of the BrS,hmanical ritual ; whence the new 
knowledge was expressed in brief words or formulas, intel- 
ligible only to the initiated, such as tadvanam, tajjaldn, 
satyasya satyam^ samyadvdma^ vdmani, hhdmant^ etc. 
J A formula of this kind was then called an upanishad^ 
, inasmuch as the condition of its conmiunication and ex- 
^planation was the absence of publicity. Such formulas 
were naturally accompanied by oral explanations, which 
- also were kept secret, and from these were gradually 
^developed the earliest texts that bore the name of 
Upanishad. The manner in which the formulas tad 
vai tad ^ or vi-ram ^ are discussed may serve as examples 
of such secret words accompanied by secret explanation.* 

In these and similar ways the secret doctrines, i.e. the 
vidydsy arose, of which mention is so frequently made in 
the Upanishads. Their authors or exclusive possessors 
were renowned in the land. Pilgrims sought them, pupils 
served them for many years,* and rich gifts were oflfered to 
them ^ in order thereby to gain the communication of the 

iBrih. 5.4. "Brih. 6. 12. 

•The explanations given of these secret words are not always in 
agreement. The definition of Brahman as ^rncvm apravarti is approved in 
Ch&nd. 3. 12. 7, hut in Brih. 2. 1. 5 (Kansh. 4. 8) is regarded, on the contrary, 
as inadmissihle. Of stUl greater interest is the case of the Upanishad Brih. 
16. 3, amrUam satyena t^hannamf understood hy others as anjitam satyena 
e'hannam ; so also Bfih. 5. 5. 1 (anritam tMuiyatah satyena par%gf%hUam)y which 
again is otherwise explained in Ch&nd. 8. 3. 5. Similarly the saying of the 
ancient fishis, pdnktam idam tarvam, is differently construed in Bfih. 1. 4. 17 
and Taitt 1. 7. 

* Chfind. 4. 10. 2. » ChAnd. 4. 2. 1. 


vidyd. In the case of some of these vidyds the name of 
the author is preserved. Several of them, in fact, are 
equipped with a formal genealogy, which recounts the 
original author and his successors, and usually closes with 
the injunction to communicate the doctrine only to a 
son or trusted pupil. 

A suitable field, however, for the successful development 
of these doctrines was first opened up when they passed 
from the Kshatriya circles, where they had originally 
found a home, by ways that a few illustrations have 
already taught us to recognise, into the possession of 
the Brahmans, whose system of scholastic traditions was 
firmly established. The latter eagerly adopted the fttman 
doctrine, although it was fundamentally opposed to the 
Vedic cult of the gods and the Brahmanical system of 
ritual, combined it by the help of allegorical interpreta- 
tion _with the ritualistic tradition, and attached it to the 
curriculum of their schools. The Upanishads became the 
Vedtota. '"' ^''- ■'■■■ '•' ■ . ■''■■ '■■-■•■ 

Soon also the Br&hmans laid claim to the new teaching 
as their exclusive privilege. They were able to point to 
princes and leaders, as Janaka, J^nasruti, etc., who were 
said to have gone for instruction to Br&hmans. Authorities 
on the ritual like S andilya and Y^jfiavalkhya were trans- 
formed into originators and upholders of the ideas of 
the Upanishads, and the &tman doctrine was made to pre- 
suppose the tradition of the Veda : — " Only he who knows 
the Veda comprehends the great omnipresent Atman," as 
it is said in a passage of the Brahmanas.^ 

After the Upanishad ideas had been adopted by the 
S'&kh&s, and had been made a part of their Vedic system of 
instruction, they passed through a varied expansion and 
development under the hands of the Vedic teachers. To 
begin with they were brought into accord with the ritual 

1 Taitt. Br. 3. 12. 9. 7. 


-'- tradition by interpreting the latter (in the Aranyakas) in 

' the spirit of the atman doctrine ; and thus the adlierents 
of the Rigveda brought it into connection with the uhtham 
(hymn), those of the Samaveda with the sdman, and 
those of the Yajurveda with the sacrifice, especially the 
horse-sacrifice as being its highest form. The new 
doctrine, however, was further developed in a manner 
which altogether transcended the traditional cult, with 
which, indeed, it often found itself in open contradiction. 
In regard to this an active communication and exchange 
must have existed between the different schools. Defini- 
tions which by the one were highly regarded failed to meet 
with acceptance in another. Teachers who in the one 
Sakha exercised supreme authority are found in an- 
other in a subordinate position (Aruni), or are altogether 
unknown (Yajnavalkhya). Texts appear with slight 
variations in the different Vedic schools, whether borrowed 
directly or going back on either side to a common original. 
Other texts are met with side by side in one and the 
same S'&khS, in numerous recensions, often very similar, 
often widely divergent from one another. This rich 
mental life, the details of which can scarcely be further 
reproduced, may not improbably have lasted for centuries ; 
and the fundamental thought of the doctrine of the fi,tman 

J have attained an ever completer development by means of 
the reflection of individual thinkers in familiar intercourse 
before a chosen circle of pupils, and probably also by public 

- discussions at royal courts. The oldest Upanishads pre- 
served to us are to be regarded as the final result of this 
mental process. 

2. The extant Upanishads 

Owing to the manner in which the Upanishads have 

arisen from the activity of the different Vedic schools and 

4 their intercourse one with another, we are unable to lay 


down any precise chronological order of succession among - 
them. All the principal Upanishads contain earlier and 
later elements side by side, and therefore the age of each 
separate piece must be determined by itself as far as this 
is possible from the degree of development of the thoughts 
which find expression in it. Here, where we still treat 
of the Upanishads as a whole, we can only attempt a 
rongh and approximate determination of the period to 
which in general an Upanishad belongs. 

We distinguish first four successive periods of time, to 
which the Upanishads as a whole may be assigned. 
L The ancient Prose Upanishads. — 
Brihad&ranyaka and Ch&ndogya. 

Aitareya. ^ 

The last-named stands on the border-line. 
These are collectively the Ved&nta texts of the actually 
existing S'S.khfis, and in their earlier parts are usually 
closely interwoven with Br&hmanas and Aranyakas, of 
which they form the continuation, and whose ritualistic 
conceptions are interpreted by them in various allegorical | 
ways. It is only the later, and as we may suppose younger 
texts which emancipate themselves fromr the ritual. The 
language is still almost entirely the ancient prose of 
the Br&hmanas, somewhat ponderous stilted and awkward, 
but not without natural charm. The order adopted above 
is in general chronological. The Brihaddranyaka and 
Chdndogya are not only the richest in contents, but also 
the oldest of the extant Upanishads. As compared also 
with one another, the Brihaddranyaka, as we shall often 
see, shows almost without exception greater originality in 
the grouping of the texts. On the other hand the literary 
outlook of Ch&nd. 7. 1. 4 (7. 2. 1, 7. 7. 1) is materially i 


broader than that of Brih. 2. 4. 10 (4. 1. 2, 4. 5. 11). 
Taittiriya in its essential part is still later than Chdn- 
dogya ; cp. Ch&nd. 6. 2 (three elements) and Taitt. 2. 1 
(five elements). Aita/reya is later than Chdndogya (in 
Ch&nd. 6. 3. 1 there are three kinds of organic beings, in 
Ait. 3. 3 four), and than Taittiriya {cjp. Taitt. 2. 6, *' after 
that he had created it he entered into it," with the more 
elaborate description Ait. 1. 3. 12). Kaushitakiy finally, 
is later than all those named; for Kaush. 1 is less 
original than Ch&nd. 5. 3 f., Brih. 6. 2, and Kaush. 3 must 
be later than Ait 3. 3, Kaush. 4 than Brih. 2. 1. Kena 
stands on the border-line of this period, and by virtue 
of its first metrical portion already belongs to the 
succeeding epoch. 

II. The Metrical Upanishads. — ^The transition is 
made by Kena 1-13 and the verses Brih. 4. 4. 8-21, 
undoubtedly a later addition. There follow — 





The last-named makes use of Mundaka^ and Mundaka 
appears to use Svetdsvatara. Is'd seems on the whole 
to be less fully developed than Svetdsvatara^ and to be 
freer from sectarian bias ; but in numerous instances it is 
found to be dependent on Kdthaka} That Svetdsvatara 
is later than Kdthaka is not open to doubt; on the 
contrary, it is very probable, on the evidence of several 
passages,* that Kdthaka was directly employed in the com- 
position of Svetdsvatara. 
J The difference between this period and the preceding 
u is very great. The connection with the S'&khfis appears 

1 Cp. especially ls'& 8 with K&Jili. 5. 13. 
* Collected in Deussen, Upan,y p. 289. 


sometimes doubtful, sometimes artificial, and in any ease 
is loose. Allegories framed after the manner of the 
Aranyakas are wanting. The thought of the Upanishads 
is no longer apprehended as in course of development, 
but appears everywhere to have been taken over in its 
entirety. Individual verses and characteristic phrases con- 
stantly recur. The phraseology is already formed. And 
the language is almost throughout metrical. 
III. The later Prose Upanishads. — 
In this third period the composition returns again to 
prose, but a prose which is markedly diflferent from the 
archaic language of the ancient Upanishads, although it 
does also take on, especially in ih^Maitrdyaniya, an archaic 
colouring. The style suggests that of the later Sanskrit 
prose ; it is complex, involved, and delights in repetitions. 
The dependence of the thought on that of the earlier Upani- 
shads is made manifest by numerous quotations and adap- 
tations. That Pras'na is later than Mundaka is proved 
by the fact that the latter is quoted in Pr. 3. 5 ; it is 
older, however, than Maitrdyantya, for it is itself quoted 
in Maitr. 6. 5. The position of MdndAhya is difficult to 
determine, owing to its brevity ; yet the theory concerning 
Om in M&nd. 3 seems to be more advanced than that 
of Maitr. 6. 4. The greater number of the Upanishads 
hitherto mentioned have found admission, sometimes with 
very doubtful right, to a place in the three older 
Vedas. Only three of them — namely, Mundaka, Prasna, 
and MS^ndukya — appear to have belonged from the 
beginning to the Atharvaveda, the two first-named 
certainly as the original legitimate Upanishads of this 
fourth Veda. These two are ascribed to Saunaka and 
Pippal4da, the founders of the Sakhas of the Atliarva- 


veda. The later collections of Atharva Upanishads 
begin as a rule with the Mundaka and Pras'na, and these 
two alone can be proved to have been known to and 
employed by Badarayana and S ankara. 

IV. The later Atharva Upanishads. — Later theo- 
logical treatises retain still the form of Upanishads as a 
convenient method of literary composition that carries 
with it a degree of sanctity ; while the thought concerns 
itself partly with the continuous development of older 
themes, or refrains from deviating from the beaten tracks 
(Garbha, Prdndgnihotray Pinda, Atma, Sarvopanishat- 
sdra^ Gd')^vda)y partly turns its attention to the glorifi- 
cation of the Yoga {Brahmavidyd, Kshm^kdj CHlikdy 
NddahindUy BrahmahindUy AmritahindUy Dhydnahindity 
TejohindUy Yogasikhd, Yogatattva^ Hamsa)^ or of the 
Sanny&sa {Brahma^ Sannydsay Aruneyay Kanihdsruti, 
Paramaharhsa, Jdbdla, Asrama). The difference between 
the two tendencies shows itself also in the fact that 
almost without exception the Yoga Upanishads are com- 
posed in verse, those of the SannySjsa in prose with 
occasional verses inserted. A further class of Upanishads 
is devoted to the worship of S'iva (AtharvasiraSy Atharva- 
s'ikhdy Nilarudray Kdldgnirudray Kaivalya), or of 
Vishnu (Mahdy NdArdyaruXy Atmahodhay Nrisimhatd- 
pantyay Rdmatdpaniyay and endeavours to interpret 
these in the light of the &tman doctrine. They are 
composed for the most part in prose with an inter- 
mixture of verse. AH of these Upanishads were received 
into the Atharvaveda, but met with no recognition from 
the leading theologians of the Vedfi-nta. 

3. The Upanishads in Bddardyana and Sanlcara 

The earliest traces of a collection of Upanishads are 
found within the books themselves. Thus the mention in 
S vet. 5. 6 of " the Upanishads that form the mystical 

bAdarAyana and S'ANKARA 27 

portion of the Veda" (veda-guhya-upanishadah), and 
also the passage SVet. 6. 22, "in former times in the 
Vedanta was the deepest mystery revealed," seem to look 
back to the older Upanishads as a self-contained whole 
which abeady claimed a certain antiquity. A similar 
inference may be drawn from a thrice recurring verse ^ 
which speaks of ascetics (yatis) who have "grasped the 
meaning of the Vedanta doctrine." Still more clearly do 
the Upanishads appear as a complete whole when, in 
Maitr. 2. 3, the doctrine concerning Brahman is described 
as " the doctrine of all the Upanishads " {sarva-upanishad- 
vidyd). That in so late works as the Sarva-upanishad-sS-ra 
or the Muktik& Upanishad the Upanishads are assumed 
to be a whole is therefore of no further importance. 

It was undoubtedly on the foundation of older and 
earlier works that BadarS^yana formally undertook an 
epitome of Upanishad doctrine in the Brahmasfitras, 
the foundation of the later VedS^nta. He shows that 
Brahman is the first principle of the world, samanvaydt, 
"from the agreement" of the Upanishad texts,* and 
proclaims the fundamental proposition " that all the 
texts of the Vedanta deserve credence" (sarva-veddnta- 
pratyayam)} Which Upanishads, however, were recog- 
nised by him as canonical cannot be ascertained from 
the siitras themselves owing to their brevity, but only 
from S'ankara's commentary, and the decision therefore 
remains in many instances doubtful, since we do not 
know how far S ankara followed a reliable tradition. Only 
in the first adhydya is it possible to determine with 
greater certainty the Upanishad texts which Badarayana 
had in his mind, where he undertakes to establish the 
teaching concerningBrahman in twenty-eight Adhiharanas 
(sections) based on as many passages of the Upanishads. 

^ Mu^id. 3. 2. 6, Malianar. 10. 22, Kniv. 3. 
« 1. 1. 4. » 3. 3. 1. 


J Here, as in his entire work, the number four plays a 

decisive part in the arrangement of the material. Of the 

twenty-eight fundamental passages, twelve are taken from 

^ the Chandogya, four from the Brihad^ranyaka, four from 

^ the K&thaka, four from the Taittiriya and Kaushltaki 

J (two from each), and four from the Atharva Upanishads, 

namely, three from the Mundaka and one from the Pras'na. 

The following scheme^ shows that the order of the 

passages, as they are found within each of the Upanishads 

which he employs, is strictly observed, while in other 

respects the passages appear interwoven in a manner for 

which we seem to be able to find a reason here and there 

in the close connection of the subject-matter. 


1. 12-19. 

Taitt. 2 



20-21. Ch&nd. 1. 6. 6. 


22. Cb/lTid. 1. 9. 1. 


23. Chand. 1. 11. 5. 


24-27. Chfind. 3. 13. 7. 






2. 1-8. Chand. 3. 14. 1. 












13-17. Chand. 4. 15. 1. 


18-20. Brih. 





Mund. 1. 1. 6. 


24-32. Cliund. 5. 11-24. 

(14) 1. 

3. 1-7. 

Mmid. 2. 2. 5. 


8-9. Chand. 7. 23. 


10-12. Brih. 





Pras'na, 5. 5. 


14-18. Chand. 8. 1. 1. 


19-21. Chand. 8. 12. 3. 



Mu^id. 2. 2. 10. 








Kuth. C. 

, 1. 


40. Chand. 8. 12. 3. 


41. Chand. 8. 14. 


42-43. Brih. 



(26) 1. 

, 4. 14^15. 

Taitt. 2. 6. 




4. 19. 


19-22. Brih. 4. 5. 6. 

* From Deussen, System des Ved&rda^ p. 130. 

bAdarAyana and S'ANKARA 29 

The striking preference for the Ch&ndogya suggests 
that an earlier work due to the school of this Upanishad 
was already in the hands of BMarayana, into which he 
or one of his predecessors worked sixteen extracts of 
importance derived from another Sakha, being guided 
further by the principle that the original order of the . 
extracts should be maintained. Besides the Upanishads 
named, B^dar^yana may with some confidence be shown 
to have used the S Vetas'vatara,^ Aitareya,* and perhaps 
Jabala.* With regard, however, to the formula of impre- 
cation quoted in Sut. 3. 3. 25, which according to S ankara 
should find a place " at the beginning of an Upanishad 
of the Atharvanikas," and which is nowhere known to 
exist, I would now suggest (since throughout their works 
Badarayana and S'ankara make use only of the Mundaka 
and Prasna from the Atharva Upanishads, consequently 
recognise none but these, and since they appear to recog- 
nise the authority of the Upanishad that follows the 
imprecation formula), that the suspected formula may 
once have stood at the beginning of one of these two, 
perhaps of the Mundaka Upanishad ; somewhat after the 
manner in which the S'dnti formulas precede the Upani- 
shads in some manuscripts, and in others are wanting. 

To the BrahmasAtras of Badarayana is attached the \ 
great commentary oi S ankara {circa 800 A.D.), to whom 
are ascribed, besides other works, the commentaries on 
the Brihaddranyaka, Chdndogya, Taittirlya, Aitareya, 
Svetas'vat<wa^ Isd, Kena, Katha, Prasna^ Mundaka 
and Mdnddkya, which are edited in the Bihl. Ind., vols, 
ii., iii., vii., viii. Commentaries therefore of S'ankara 
are missing on the Kaushltaki^ which was first elucidated 
by Sankardnanda (a teacher, according to Hall, Index, 
p. 98. 123, of Madhava, who flourished 1350 A.D.), 
and on the Maitrdyaniya, which Rdmatirtha expounded. 
» sat. 1. 4. 8-10. > S6t. 3. 3. 16-18. » SAt. 1. 2. 32. 


^ The commentaries, however, on the eleven Upanishads 

J named are to be attributed in part probably not to 

Sankara himself, but merely to his school, since the 

explanations given in the Upanishad commentaries often 

^ fail to agree with those in the commentary on the sutras. 

^ The commentary on the Mdnddhya which is extant 

under the name of S ankara treats this and GaudapS-da's 

Kdrikd as one, and seems to regard the whole as in no 

sense an Upanishad (p. 330 : veddnta-artha'sdra-san- 

graha-bhUtam idam prakarana-caticshtayam ^ om iti 

etad aksharam' ityddi drahhyate); and with this 

would agree the fact that the MdndHhya is not quoted 

either in the Brahmasutras or in S'ankara's commentary 

on them, while two verses from the Kdrikd of Gaudap&da^ 

are cited by S'ankara* with the words, atra uktam 

veddnta-artha-sampraddyavidhhir dc'dryaih. In his 

-^ commentary on the Brahmasutras only the following 

J fourteen Upanishads can be shown to have been quoted 

jby Sankara (the figures attached indicate the number 

of quotations), — Ch&ndogya 809, Brihad&ranyaka 565, 

- Taittiriya 142, Mundaka 129, K&thaka 103, Kaushitaki 

^ '88, S Vetas'vatara 53, Pras'na 38, Aitareya 22, JS,bala 13, 

Mah&nS,rS,yana 9, Is'& 8, Paingi 6, Kena 5. 

Although Sankara regards the texts of the VedS-nta 
^ which he recognises as a uniform and consistent canon of 
J truth,* yet he seems still to have had in his hands no 

^ 3. 15 and 1. 16. « P. 375. 3, 433. 1. 

3 We may compare his exposition on sdtra 3. 3. 1, p. 843 : — " How 
then can the question arise, whether the doctrines concerning the atman are 
different or not different ; for we cannot suppose the aim of the Ved&nta is 
to teach a plurality of Brahmans, like the existing plurality of phenomena, 
since Brahman is one and immutable. So it is not possible that concerning 
the immutable Brahman various doctrines should exist ; for to suppose that 
the actual fact is one thing, and the knowledge of it another, is necessarily a 
mistake. And even supposing that in the different Vedanta texts various 
doctrines were taught concerning the immutable Brahman, only one of these 
could be true ; the remainder on the other hand would be false, and the con- 


collection of Upanishads, since he looks upon the greater 
number of them as still forming the concluding chapters 
of their respective Br&hmanas, to which therefore he is 
accustomed to refer at the commencement of the 
Upanishad commentary. Thus in the introduction to the 
commentary on the Kena^ he quotes its beginning as 
" the beginning of the ninth adhyaya ; * before it works 
have been thoroughly discussed ; the acts of adora- 
tion also of the pr&na which serves as the foundation 
of all works were taught ; and further those also which 
relate to the S&man that forms a branch of the works. 
Next followed the consideration of the G&yatra-sS;man, and 
finally the list of teachers. All the above belongs still 
to works," etc. On Chdndogya, p. 2 : — " The entire ritual 
has been rehearsed, as also the knowledge of PrS,na-Agni, 
etc., as divine." On Taittirtya, p. 2: — "The appointed 
works which serve to atone for trangressions that have 
been committed, as also the works desirable for those who 
covet a definite reward, have been rehearsed in the pre- 
ceding parts of the book {pHrvasmin grantJie)" On 
Brihaddranyaka, p. 4 : " The connection of this (Upani- 
shad) with the sphere of works is as follows," etc. On 
Ts'd, p. 1 : — " The mantras tsd vdsyam, etc., do not apply 
(as w^e should expect) to works, but reveal the nature of 
the atman who is independent of works." On Aitareyay 
p. 143: — " The works together with the knowledge rela- 
tive to the lower Brahman are remitted," etc. 

As may be inferred from the comments quoted, all 
these Upanishads appear to have been still regarded by 
S'ankara as the concluding portions of their respective 

sequence would be loss of confidence in the Veddnta. (This, however, in 
Sankara's eyes would be an dirayatyrf €ls to ddvvarov). It is therefore 
inconceivable that in the individual texts of the Yeddnta a difference of 
doctrine on the subject of Brahman should find a place." 

1 BibL Ind,, p. 28. 

■ In the recension published by Ortel it belongs to the fourth adhy&ya. 


Br&hmanas. On the other hand a similar connection with 
the part of a preceding work is wanting in the case of the 
commentaries on KS,thaka and S'vet&svatara. So also 
with Mundaka and Pras'na, which are treated by S'ankara 
as one. In the introduction to Pras'na, p. 160. 2, he 
remarks : — " in order to examine further the subjects 
taught in the mantras (of the Mundaka Upanishad, as it 
is rightly glossed), this Brahmana (the Pras'na Upanishad) 
is undertaken." Since, however, the Mundaka and Pras'na 
exhibit no relationship at all, and since they are attached 
further to different S akhS^ of the Atharvaveda (those of 
Saunaka and Pippalada respectively), this unity under 
which S'ankara treats of them is probably to be explained 
merely from the fact that as early as his time they were 
linked together as the first beginning and foundation of a 
/ collection of Atharva Upanishads. At that time probably 
the collection consisted only of these two, for otherwise it 
is hardly likely that the others would have been ignored by 
S'ankara so completely as was in fact the case. It is true 
also that the annotator Anandajndna remarks at the 
beginning of S'ankara's commentary on the Md/ndHhya : 
"Beginning with the Brahma Upanishad (he intends 
probably the Brahma-vidy& Upanishad) and the Garbha 
Upanishad, there are extant besides many Upanishads of 
the Atharvaveda. Since, however, they are not em- 
ployed in the S'arirakam (the Brahmasutras of B&darftyana), 
he (S'ankara) does not expound them." But the reason 
assigned is perhaps not conclusive ; for which Upanishads 
are found in the S'&rirakam, and which not, could only be 
determined by tradition or firom S'ankara himself. It 
. must therefore have been tradition or S'ankara himself 
J that excluded other Upanishads from the Canon, whether 
_ because they were yet unknown, or because they were not 
yet recognised as Upanishads. And thus in fact S'ankara 
describes the M&ndukya, upon which nevertheless, together 


with Gaudap&da's K^rik^, he had himself commented, not 
as an Upanishad, but as " a literary composition contain- ' 
ing the essence of the Vedanta {veddnta-artha'Sdra' 
sangraha-bhiltam prakaranam). 

4. The most important Collections of Upanishads 

The further history of the Upanishad tradition is for 
a time shrouded in darkness, and only conjecturally are we 
able from the existing collections of Upanishads to draw 
some conclusions as to their origin. These collections or 
lists fall from the outset into two classes, in so far as 
they either contain the Upanishads in their entirety, or 
limit themselves (at least as far as the original design is 
concerned) to the Upanishads of the Atharvaveda. Of 
the former class is the Canon of the Muktik^ and the 
Oupnek'hat, of the latter that of Colebrooke and 

Since the Upanishads of the three older Vedas con- 
tinued to live in the tradition of the S akhSs, as long as 
these survived the secure transmission of the Upanishads 
concerned was assured. It was otherwise with the 
Atharvaveda, which was not employed at the sacrifice, 
and in consequence had no such firmly established 
tradition of the schools as the text of the three older 
Vedas upon which to rely for its preservation. This is 
shown not only by the indifference from which its Samhita 
has suffered, but also by the freedom with which it ad- 
mitted new compositions. The latter would assuredly 
have been impossible as long as the tradition was under 
the protection of regular Vedic schools, maintaining them- 
selves from generation to generation according to the 
rules of their guild. Hence is to be explained the exten- 
sive irruption of newly composed Upanishads into the 
Atharvaveda. As early as S'ankara we find the Mundaka 
and Pras'na united together (sup, p. 32), and on these as 


J foundation a collection of Atharva Upanishads appears to 
J have been gradually built up, which eventually comprised 
34 pieces from Mundaka to Nrisimhatdpantya, and 
included also some whose claim to the name of Upani- 
^ shads had never been previously recognised; just as in 
J the judgement of S'ankara the K&rika of Gaudapada 
on the M&ndukya Upanishad, and indeed this treatise 
^ itself {sup. pp. 30, 33), had no claim to the position of an 
Upanishad. These 34 primary Upanishads of Colebrooke's 
list were later extended to 52 by the addition not only of 
a number of recent compositions, but most remarkably 
by the side of and among them of seven of the recognised 
texts of the older Vedas, viz. — 35-36 Kdthaka, 37 Kena, 
39-40 Brihann&rayana ( = Taitt. Ar. x.), 44 AiiandavalU 
( = Taitt. Up. 2), and 45 BhriguvalU ( = Taitt. Up. 3). 
In this manner the collection of 52 Upanishads first made 
known by Colebrooke originated, the strange combination 
of which we attempted to explain ^ on the hypothesis that 
at the time and in the region where this collection was 
finally put together the three older Vedas were cultivated 
only in the S'^khS^s of the Aitareyins, Tandins (to which 
the Chandogya Upanishad belongs), and VSjasaneyins. 
Accordingly the Upanishads of the remaining S'S-khSs 
(with the exception of the Kaushltahi^ Svetdsvatara, and 
Maitrdyanlya, which were perhaps already lost or not 
recognised) were inserted in the existing collection of 
Atharva Upanishads with a view to their safe pre- 

The collection of N&rdyana is in exact agreement with 
that of Colebrooke, apart from a few variations in the 

1 Deussen, Upan,, p. 537. 

' An apparently older list has been preserved in the Atharva-paris'ishta 
2. 13 (Berliner Handschrifterij 2. 88), which reckons only 28 Atharva Upani- 
shads, omitting the texts of the older Vedas, but in other respects, as far 
as it goes, agrees with the lists of Colebrooke and Ndrdya];ia with a single 


order of the later treatises. The 52 Upanishads of 
Colebrooke are however reduced to 45, seven sectarian 
texts being then added to form Nos. 46-52, viz. — two 
Gopdlatdpantya, Krishna, Vdsvdeva with Goptcandana, 
Svetdsvatara, and two Varadatdpaniya, This inter- 
relation is to be explained on the theory that the number 
52 had already gained a kind of canonical authority 
before the desire was felt to insert seven additional texts, 
which had now for the first time come into existence or 
obtained recognition. The end was attained by uniting 
portions that had originally belonged together, and so 
reducing the existing 52 numbers to 45. Thus room 
was found for the seven new texts within the number 
of the 52, thereby facilitating the recognition of the 
complete list as canonical. 

The collection of 108 Upanishads, which the Muktika 
itself regards as later, appears to belong to an entirely 
different region (probably the south of India), and to a 
considerably more recent time. This collection includes 
all the treatises of Colebrooke (except the Nilarvdra, 
Pinda^ Mahdndrdyana^ As'rama) and of Narftyana 
(except the Varadatdpaniya), although for the most 
part under different names and sometimes expanded 
by later additions to thirty or forty times their original 
extent. Added to these are the 11 Upanishads of the 
three older Vedas complete, with the exception of the 
Mahanftrftyana, and about seventy new texts found 
nowhere else. The circumstance that in this collection 
the Upanishads of the three older Vedas also find a place, 
and that at the very beginning of it, points to a time 
I and region in which a living and reliable tradition of 
' the S akhas no longer existed ; of which fact a further 
I and yet stronger proof is the bold attempt, made with- 
out a shadow of justification, to assign 10 of these 108 
i! Upanishads to the l^igveda, 19 to the White and 32 


to the Black Yajurveda, 16 to the Samaveda, and 
31 to the Atharvaveda, — a procedure against which 
the ancient Vedic schools would have strenuously pro- 
tested. In other respects this collection is of great 
interest for the later history of the VedS^nta (perhaps 
mainly or exclusively among the Telugu Brahmans), and 
deserves closer examination now that it has been made 
accessible in the Devan&gart edition of 1896. Previously 
there had existed only an edition in the Telugu character. 
It is worthy of note also that S'ankar&nanda's readings 
often agree with those of the 108 Upanishads against 
those of the 52 and of N&r&yana. 

A position apart both from the 52 and the 108 
Upanishads is occupied by that collection of 50 Upani- 
shads which, under the name of Oupnek'hat, which was 
translated from the Sanskrit into Persian in the year 
1656 at the instance of the Sultan Mohammed Dara 
; Shakoh, and from the Persian into Latin in 1801-02 
by Anquetil Duperron. The Oupnek'hat also, like the 
Muktika collection, professes to be a general collection 
of Upanishads. It contains imder twelve divisions the 
Upanishads of the three older Vedas, and with them 
twenty-six Atharva Upanishads that are known from 
other sources. It further comprises eight treatises peculiar 
to itself, five of which have not up to the present time 
been proved to exist elsewhere, and of which therefore a 
rendering from the Persian-Latin of Anquetil is alone 
possible.^ Finally, the Oupnek'hat contains four treatises 
from the Vaj. Samh. 16. 31. 32. 34, of which the first is 
met with in a shorter form in other collections also as the 
Nilm^dra Upanishads while the three last have nowhere 
else found admission.* The reception of these treatises 

1 See Deussen, l/poTi., p. 838 f , 

* These, as belonging to the early history of the Upanishads, I have 
translated and discussed «up. I. 1 pp. 156 f., 290 f., 291 f., 336. 


from the Samhita into the body of the Upanishads, as 
though there were danger of their otherwise falling into 
oblivion, makes us infer a comparatively late date for the 
Oupnek'hat collection itself, although as early as 1656 
the Persian translators made no claim to be the original 
compilers, but took the collection over already complete. 
They seem, indeed, to have regarded it as originating in a 
period long past.^ Owing to the excessive literality with 
which Anquetil Duperron rendered these Upanishads word 
by word from the Persian into Latin, while preserv- 
ing the syntax of the former language, — a literality that 
stands in striking contrast to the freedom with which 
the Persian translators treated the Sanskrit text, — the 
Oupnek'hat is a very dijBScult book to read ; and an insight 
as keen as that of Schopenhauer was required in order to 
discover within this repellent husk a kernel of invaluable 
philosophical significance, and to turn it to account for 
his own system.* 

An examination of the material placed at our disposal 
in the Oupnek'hat was first undertaken by A. Weber, 
Ind. Stud,, i., ii., ix., on the basis of the Sanskrit text. 
Meanwhile the original texts were published in the Biblio- 
theca Indica in part with elaborate commentaries, and 
again in the Anandasrama series. Max Muller translated 
the twelve oldest Upanishads in Sacred Books of the 
East, vols, i., XV. The two longest and some of the 
shorter treatises have appeared in a literal German 
rendering by 0. Bohtlingk. And my own transla- 
tion of the 60 Upanishads (Leipzig, 1897) contains com- 
plete texts of this character which, upon the strength of 
their regular occurrence in the Indian collections and 
lists of the Upanishads, may lay claim to a certain 

^ See Deussen, Upan,, p. 535. 

' Schopenhauer's judgement on the Oupnek'hat is quoted in Deussen, 
I/pan., p. VI. 


canonicity. The prefixed Introductions and the Notes 
treat exhaustively of the matter and composition of the 
several treatises, and there is therefore no necessity to 
enter here further into these literary questions. 

III. The Fundamental Conception of the Upanispads 
AND ITS Significance 

1. Tlie Fundamental Conception of the Upanishads 

All the thoughts of the Upanishads move around two 
fundamental ideas. These are (1) the Brahman, and (2) 
the atman. As a rule thfese terms are employed synonym- 
ously. Where a difference reveals itself, Brahman appears 
as the older and less intelligible expression, fi,tman as the 
later and more significant ; Brahman as the unknown that 
needs to be explained, atman as the known through which 
the other unknown finds its explanation ; Brahman as the 
first principle so far as it is comprehended in the universe, 
&tman so far as it is known in the inner self of man. We 
may take as an example the passages from Satap. Br. 10. 
6. 3, ChS,nd. 3. 14,^ whose sole fundamental thought con- 
sists in this, that the universe is Brahman {sarvam khalu 
idam brahma), and the Brahman the S,tman within us 
{esha ma* dtmd antar hridaye, etc.).* Another example 
is furnished by the story of Gargya (Brih. 2. 1, Kaush. 4), 
who endeavours in vain to define the Brahman, until 
finally he is referred by the king to the atman for its 

1 Translated in I. 1 pp. 264, 336. 

' Bohtlingk maintains * that I had "not known (!) that esha ma* dtmd 
antar hridayc is everywhere suhject." He himself, however, involuntarily 
bears testimony to the correctness of my translation, when, immediately after 
his rendering in § 3, " this my Self in my innermost heart," in § 4 where 
the same phrase recurs he translates precisely as 1 do, " this is my Self in 
my innermost heart." 

♦ BerichU der SOchs. Q. d. W., 1897, p. 84. 


explanation. The difference between Brahman and atman 
emerges most clearly where they appear side by side with 
one another in brief sayings. The passage Brih. 4. 4. 5 
may serve as example : — " truly the Brahman is this 
Atman " {sa voU ayam dtmd hrahma). 

If for our present purpose we hold fast to this distinc- 
tion of the Brahman as the cosmical principle of the 
universe, the fi,tman as the psychical, the fundamental 
thought of the entire Upanishad philosophy may be ! 
expressed by the simple equation : — 
Brahman = Atman. 
That is to say — the Brahman, the power which presents 
itself to us materialised in all existing things, which 
creates, sustains, preserves, and receives back into itself 
again all worlds, this eternal infinite divine power is 
identical with the &tman, with that which, after stripping 
off everything external, we discover in ourselves as our real 
most essential being, our individual self, the soul. This 
identity of the Brahman and the &tman, of God and the 
soul, is the fundamental thought of the entire doctrine of 
the Upanishads. It is briefly expressed by the " great 
saying " tat tvam asi, " that art thou " (Chand. 6. 8. 7 f.) ; 
and aham hrahma asmiy "I am Brahman" (Brih. 1. 4. 
10). And in the compound word hrahma-dtma'aikyam, 
" unity of the Brahman and the &tman," is described the 
fundamental dogma of the Ved&nta system. 

If we strip this thought of the various forms, figurative 
to the highest degree and not seldom extravagant, under 
which it appears in the Ved^nta texts, and fix our 
attention upon it solely in its philosophical simplicity as 
the identity of God and the soul, the Brahman and the 
S.tman, it will be found to possess a significance reaching 
far beyond the Upanishads, their time and country ; nay, 
we claim for it an inestimable value for the whole race of 
mankind. We are unable to look into the future, we do 


not know what revelations and discoveries are in store for 
the restlessly inquiring human spirit ; but one thing we 
may assert with confidence, — whatever new and unwonted 
paths the philosophy of the future may strike out, this 
principle will remain permanently unshaken, and from it 
no deviation can possibly take place. If ever a general 
solution is reached of the great riddle, which presents 
itself to the philosopher in the nature of things all the 

i more clearly the further our knowledge extends, the key 
can only be found where alone the secret of nature lies 
open to us from within, that is to say, in our innermost 

' self. It was here that for the first time the original 
thinkers of the Upanishads, to their immortal honour, 

. found it when they recognised our fitman, our inmost 

J individual being, as the Brahman, the inmost being of 
universal nature and of all her phenomena. 

2. The Conception of the Upanishads in its Relation 
to Philosophy 

■" The whole of religion and philosophy has its root in 
^ the thought that (to adopt the language of Kant) the 
' universe is only appearance and not reality {Ding an sich) ; 
^ that is to say, the entire external universe, with its infinite 
. ramifications in space and time, as also the involved and 
intricate sum of our inner perceptions, is all merely the form 
^ under which the essential reality presents itself to a con- 
i sciousness such as ours, but is not the form in which it 
, may subsist outside of our consciousness and independent 
of it ; that, in other words, the sum-total of external and 
J internal experience always and only tells us how things 
J are constituted for us, and for our intellectual capacities, 
. not how they arc in themselves and apart from intelli- 
gences such as ours. 

It is easy to show how this thought, which met with 
adequate recognition first in the philosophy of Kant, but 


which existed in less clearly defined form from the earliest 
times, is the basis and tacit presumption, more or less 
consciously, of all philosophy, so far at least as this 
name is not made to serve as a mere cloak for empirical 
sciences. For all philosophy, as contrasted with empirical 
science, is not content to learn to know objects in their 
circumstances and surroundings, and to investigate their 
causal connections ; but it rather seeks beyond all these 
to determine their nature, inasmuch as it regards the sum- 
total of empirical reality, with all the explanations offered 
by the empirical sciences, as something which needs to be 
yet further explained ; and this solution is found in the 
principle which it sets forth, and from which it seeks to 
infer the real nature of things and their relation. This 
fact, then, that philosophy has from the earliest times 
sought to determine a first principle of the universe, proves 
that it started from a more or less clear consciousness that 
the entire empirical reality is not the true essence of 
things, that, in Kant's words, it is only appearance and 
not the thing in itself. 

There have been three occasions, as far as we know, on 
which philosophy has advanced to a clearer comprehension 
of its recurring task, and of the solution demanded : first 
in India in the Upanishads, again in Greece in the philo- 
sophy of Parmenides and Plato, and finally, at a more 
recent time, in the philosophy of Kant and Schopen- 
hauer. In a later work we shall have to show how 
Greek philosophy reached its climax in the teaching of 
Parmenides and Plato, that this entire universe of change 
is, as Parmenides describes it, merely phenomenal, or in 
Plato's words a world of shadows; and how both philo- 
sophers endeavoured through it to grasp the essential 
reality, to Sv, to Svtox; 01/, that which Plato, in an expression 
that recalls the doctrine of the Upanishads no less than 
the phraseology of Kant, describes as the avro (dtman) 


. KaS" avTo {an sich). We shall then see further how this 
same thought, obscured for a time under the influence of 
Aristotle and throughout the Middle Ages, was taken up 
again in quite a different way, and shone forth more 

' clearly than ever before in the philosophy founded by 

> Kant, adopted and perfected by his great successor 
Schopenhauer. Here we have to do with the Upanishads, 
and the world-wide historical significance of these docu- 
ments cannot, in our judgement, be more clearly indicated 

J than by showing how the deep fundamental conception of 

, Plato and Kant was precisely that which already formed 
the basis of Upanishad teaching. 

The objects which lie around us on every side in 
infinite space, and to which by virtue of our corporeal 

, nature we ourselves belong, are, according to Kant, not 
" things in themselves," but only apparitions. According 
to Plato, they are not the true realities, but merely shadows 

' of them. And according to the doctrine of the Upanishads, 

J they are not the 4tman, the real "self" of the things, 
but mere mdyd, — that is to say, a sheer deceit, illusion. It 

' is true that the term mdyd occurs for the first time in 

J S Vet. 4. 10 ; and therefore some writers, whose recognition 
of a fact is obscured by the different language in which it 
is clothed, have hazarded the assertion that the conception 

• of mdyd is still unknown to the more ancient Upanishads. 

, How in the light of this assertion they find it possible to 
comprehend these older Upanishads (Brihad. and Chand.) 
they themselves perhaps know. The fact is they are 

: penetrated throughout by the conception which later 
was most happily expressed by the word mdyd. In the 

' very demand which they make that the &tman of man, 
the S,tman of the universe, must be sought for,^ it is 

^ implied that this body and this universe which reveal 

^ Bj-ih. 2. 4. 5 : dtmd vd* are drashtavyah, s'rotavyoy marUavyo, nididhyd- 
iitavyo ; Chdnd. 8. 7. 1 : «o' nveshtavyaf^ sa vijijhdsitavyah. 


themselves to us unsought are not the atman, the self, 
the true reality ; and that we are under a delusion if, like 
the demon Viroc'ana,^ we regard them as such. All worldly 
objects and relationships are, as Yajnavalkhya explains in 
Brih. 2. 4. 5*, of no value for their own sake (as " things 
in themselves"), but for the sake of the atman ; nay, they 
exist solely in the &tman, and that man is utterly and 
hopelessly undone who knows them "apart from the 
Self" (anyatra dtmano). This fttman, he concludes,* is 
Br&hman and warrior, is space, gods, and creatures, " this 
atman is the entire universe " (idam mrvam yad ayam 
dtmd). As when a man touches the instrument * he at 
the same time elicits the notes, so when a man has 
comprehended the S.tman he has with it comprehended 
all these things : — " Verily he who has seen, heard, com- 
prehended and known the Self, by him is this entire 
universe known." * 

Immediately connected with these conceptions, and 
probably even with this passage from the Brihadaranyaka, 
is the expression in the Ch&ndogya Up. 6. 1. 2, where 
that which in the former place was the climax of a de- 
velopment is assumed and becomes the theme advanced 
for discussion : — " Dost thou then ask for that instruction, 
by which the unheard becomes (already) heard, the un- 
comprehended comprehended, the unknown known ? " 
" What then, most noble sir, is this instruction ? " 
"Just as, my dear sir, from a lump of clay everything 
that consists of clay is known, the change is a matter of 
words alone, a mere name,^ it is in reality only clay, — 
thus, my dear sir, is this instruction." Here the manifold 
change of the one substance is explained as mere word- 
play, mere name, exactly as Parmenides asserts that all 

1 Chand. 8. 8. 4. « L.c. 2. 4. 6. 

» Brih. 2. 4. 7f. * Brih. 2. 4. 5t>. 

* vdcdrcmbhanam vikdro^ ndmadheyam. 


which men regard as real is mere name.^ Later passages 

employ language that is based on these conceptions, " nor 

is this even a plurality,"* and the verses preserved in 

Brih. 4. 4. 19:'— 

In the spirit should this be perceived, 
Here there is no plurality anywhere. 
From death to death again he rushes blindly 
Who fancies that he here sees difference. 

Apt and striking also is the remark of a later 
Upanishad * that no proof of plurality can even be offered, 
' "for no proof is possible of the existence of a duality, and 
-^ only the timeless S,tman admits of proof," {i.e. we are 
^ incapable of knowing anything outside of our own con- 
sciousness, which under all circumstances forms a unity). 

It is clear from the foregoing: — (1) That the view 
which later was most explicitly set forth in the doctrine 
^ of mdyd is so far from being strange to the oldest 
-Upanishads that it is assumed in and with their funda- 
j mental doctrine of the sole reality of the &tman, and 
^ forms its necessary complement ; and (2) that this funda- 
mental doctrine of the Upanishads is seen to be in mar- 
' vellous agreement with the philosophies of Parmenides 
and Plato, and of Kant and Schopenhauer. So fully 
} indeed is this true, that all three, originating from different 
^ epochs and countries, and with modes of thought entirely 
; independent, mutually complete, elucidate, and confirm 
one another. Let this then suffice for the philosophical 
significance of the Upanishads. 

3. The Conception of the Upanishads in its Relation 
to Relic/ion 

The thought referred to, common to India, Plato, and 
Kant, that the entire universe is only appearance and not 

* T« irdvr Bpofx* taraif wnra fiparoi KoriBtvro n€noiB6r€s eiwai dkrj$rj, 

* Kaush. X 8 « cp. K&^h. 4. 10-11. ^ Nrisimhott 9. 


reality, forms not only the special and most important 
theme of all philosophy, but is also the presumption 
and conditio sine qud non of all religion. All great 
religious teachers therefore, whether in earlier or later 
times, nay even all those at the present day whose 
religion rests upon faith, are alike unconsciously followers 
of Kant. This we propose briefly to prove. 

The necessary premisses of all religion are, as Kant 
frequently expounds : — (1) The existence of God, (2) the 
immortality of the soul, (3) the freedom of the will 
(without which no morality is possible). These three 
essential conditions of man's salvation — God, immortality, 
and freedom — ^are conceivable only if the universe is mere 
appearance and not reality (mere mdyd and not the 
atman)y and they break down irretrievably should this 
empirical reality, wherein we live, be found to constitute 
the true essence of things. 

(1) The existence of God will be precluded by that 
of space, which is infinite, and therefore admits of nothing 
external to itself, and nothing within save that which 
fills it, i.e. matter (the most satisfactory definition of 
which is " that which fills space "). 

(2) Immortality will be precluded by the conditions 
of time, in consequence of which our existence has a 
beginning in time by conception and birth, and an end 
in time by death ; and this end is absolute, in so far as 
that beginning was absolute. 

(3) Freedom, and with it the possibility of moral 
action, will be precluded by the universal validity of the 
law of causality, as shown by experience ; for this requires 
that every effect, consequently every human action, should 
be the necessary result of causes which precede the action, 
and which therefore in the actual moment of action are 
no longer within our control. 

The question as it concerns God, immortality, and 


freedom, stands on an altogether different footing if this 
entire empirical reality, the occupant of space and time, 
and ruled by causal laws, is mere appearance and not a 
disposition of "things in themselves," to use Kant's 
words; or is mere mdyd and not the dtman, the "self" 
of things, as the Upanishads teach. For in this case 
there is room for another^ a higher order of things, which 
is not subject to the laws of space, time, and causality. 
And it is precisely this higher order of things set over- 
against the reality of experience, from the knowledge of 
; which we are excluded by our intellectual constitution, 
which religion comprehends in faith by her teaching 
concerning God, immortality, and freedom. All religions 
therefore unconsciously depend on the fundamental 
dogma of the Kantian philosophy, which in a less definite 
form was already laid down in the Upanishads. These 
last therefore by virtue of their fundamental character lie 
naturally at the basis of every religious conception of 

By the side, moreover, of this their value for religion 
in general they have a special and very remarkable inner 
relation to Christianity, which we cannot state more 
briefly and clearly than by repeating in the present 
connection, where this consideration is essential, what has 
been before said on this subject.^ 

The Upanishads, it was pointed out, are for the Veda 
what the New Testament is for the Bible. And this 
analogy is not merely external and accidental, but is funda- 
mental and based upon a universal law of development 
of the religious life which is acknowledged on both sides. 

In the childhood of the human race religion enacts 
commands and prohibitions, and emphasizes them by 
promises of reward and denunciations of punishment ; — it 
addresses itself to the self-interest, which it assumes to 

1 DeuBsen, Seehttig Upamskadi, Vorreds, 


be the centre and essence of human nature, and beyond 
which it does not go. 

A higher grade of religious consciousness is attained 
with the knowledge that all actions which depend upon 
the motives of expectation and fear are of no value for 
the ultimate destiny of mankind ; that the supreme 
function of existence does not consist in the satisfaction 
of self-interest, but in its voluntary suppression ; and that 
herein first the true divine reality of ourselves, through 
the individual self as through an outer husk, makes itself 

The primitive standpoint of righteousness by works 
is represented in the Bible by the Old Testament law, 
which corresponds in the Veda to that which the Indian 
theologians call the karmakdiida (the department of 
works), under which name is comprised the whole 
literature of the Hymns and Br&hmanas, with the 
exception of portions intercalated here and there in the 
spirit of the Upanishads. Both the Old Testament and 
the karmakdnda of the Veda proclaim a law, and hold 
out the prospect of reward for its observance and of 
punishment for its transgression. And if the Indian 
theory has the advantage of being able to defer retribution 
in part to the future, and by that means to relieve the 
conflict with experience that raises so many difficulties 
for the Old Testament doctrine of a retribution limited 
to this world ; it is, on the other hand, the distinguishing 
characteristic of the Biblical law of righteousness, that it 
pays less regard than the Indian to ritual prescriptions, 
and in their place lays greater stress on a habitually 
blameless course of life. For the interests of human 
society this advantage is very great. In itself however, 
and as far as the moral value of an action is concerned, it 
makes no difference whether a man exert himself in the 
service of imaginary gods or in that of his fellow-men. 


So long as his own well-being lies before him as the 
ultimate aim, either is simply a means to this selfish end, 
and therefore, like the end itself, from a moral point of 
view is to be set aside as worthless. 

The recognition of this is seen in the New Testament 
doctrine of the worthlessness of all works, even those that 
are good, and in the corresponding Upanishad doctrine 
that altogether rejects works. Both make salvation 
dependent not on anything done or left undone, but on a 
complete transformation of the natural man as a whole. 
Both regard this transformation as a release from the 
bonds of this all-embracing empirical reality, which has 
its roots in egotism. 

Why then do we need a release from this existence ? 
Because it is the realm of sin, is the reply of the Bible. 
The Veda answers : Because it is the realm of ignorance. 
The former sees depravity in the volitional, the latter in 
the intellectual side of human nature. The Bible demands 
a change of the will, the Veda of the understanding. On 

I which side does the truth lie ? If man were pure will or 
pure intelligence, we should have to decide for one or 
the other alternative. But since he is a being who both 
wills and knows, the great change upon which the Bible 
and the Veda alike make salvation depend must be 
realised in both departments of his life. Such a 
change is, in the first place, according to the Biblical view 
the softening of a heart hardened by natural self-love, and 
the inclining it to deeds of righteousness, affection, and 
self-denial. It is however, in the second place and side 
by side with this, the breaking forth upon us of the light 
of the great intellectual truth, which the Upanishads 
taught before Kant, that this entire universe, with its 
relations in space, its consequent manifolduess and 
dependence upon the mind that apprehends, rests solely 
upon an illusion {mdyd), natural indeed to us owing to 


the limitations of our intellect; and that there is in truth one 
Being alone, eternal, exalted above space and time, multi- 
plicity and change, self-revealing in all the forms of nature, 
and by me who myself also am one and undivided, dis- 
covered and realised within as my very Self, as the 4tman. 

As surely however as, to adopt the significant teach- 
ing of Schopenhauer, the will and not the intellect is the 
centre of a man s nature, so surely must the pre-eminence 
be assigned to Christianity, in that its demand for a 
renewal of the will is peculiarly vital and essential. But 
as certainly as man is not mere will, but intellect besides, 
so certainly will that Christian renewal of the will make 
itself manifest on the other side as a renewal of know- 
ledge, just as the Upanishads teach. " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself" is the requirement of the Bible. 
But on what grounds is this demand to be based, since 
feeling is in myself alone and not in another ? " Because," 
the Veda here adds in explanation, " thy neighbour is in 
truth thy very self, and what separates you from him is 
mere illusion." As in this case, so at every point of 
the system. The New Testament and the Upanishads, 
these two noblest products of the religious consciousness 
of mankind, are found when we sound their deeper 
meaning to be nowhere in irreconcilable contradiction, but 
in a manner the most attractive serve to elucidate and 
complete one another. 

An example may show the value of the Upanishad teach- 
ing for the full development of our Christian consciousness. 

Christianity teaches in spirit, even if not always in the 
letter, that man as such is capable only of sinful, that is 
selfish actions (Rom. 7^% and that all good whether of 
purpose or achievement can only be wrought in us by God 
(Phil. 2"). Clearly as this doctrine — for him who has 
eyes to see — is formulated not so much in individual 
expressions as rather in the entire system as such, yet it 


has been difficult at all times for the Church to rest 
satisfied with it. She has sought perpetually an 
opportunity of co-ordinating her own imperfect remedial 
measures, and of leaving open a side-door for human 
co-operation, — clearly because behind the sole operative 
power which makes God the source of all good she saw 
standing like a frightful apparition the grim monstrosity 
of predestination. And indeed this presents itself as an 
inevitable consequence as soon as we connect the Christian 
conception of the sole agency of God, as profound as 
it is true, with the Jewish realism adopted from the 
Old Testament, which sets God and man over-against one 
another as two mutually exclusive subsistences. In this 
darkness there comes to us light from the East, from 
India. It is true that Paul also hints at an identification 
of God with the avOpcoiro^ irp€v/MaTi/c6<; (1 Cor. 15*^), it 
is true that Kant endeavours to explain the marvellous 
phenomenon of the categorical imperative within us on 
the theory that the man as real (** thing in itself") lays 
down the law to the man as phenomenal ; but how slight 
the significance of these timid and groping essays as 
^ compared with the profound and fundamental conception 
of the VedS.nta, which makes its appearance everywhere 
- ^ in the Upanishads, that the God, the sole author of all 
. good in us, is not as in the Old Testament a Being 
contrasted with and distinct from us, but rather — without 
impairing his absolute antagonism to the depraved self of 
experience (jiva) — our own metaphysical I, our divine 
self, persisting in untarnished purity through all the 
aberrations of human nature, eternal blessed, — in a word, 
our dtman. 

This and much more we may learn from the Upani- 
shads, — we shall learn the lesson, if we are willing to put 
the finishing touch to the Christian consciousness, and to 
make it on all sides consistent and complete. 



By a system we understand an association of thoughts, 
which collectively belong to and ai:e dependent on a 
single centre. A system has therefore always an individual 
author, whether he have himself originated the thoughts 
brought together in the system, or have only adjusted 
to one another and welded into a consistent whole im-j 
perfect thoughts derived from without. In this sense a 
" system of the Upanishads, " strictly speaking, does not 
exist. For these treatises are not the work of a single 
genius, but the total philosophical product of an entire 
epoch, which extends from the period of the wandering 
in the Ganges valley to the rise of Buddhism, or approxi- 
•^ mately from 1000 or 800 B.C. to c. 500 B.C., but which is 
prolonged in its oflFshoots far beyond this last limit of 
time. Thus we find in the Upanishads a great variety 
of conceptions which are developed before our eyes, and 
which not seldom stand to one another in irreconcilable 
contradiction. All these conceptions, however, gather so 
entirely around one common centre, and are dominated 
so completely by the one thought of the sole reality of 
the 4tman, that they all present themselves as manifold 
variations upon one and the same theme, which is treated 
at one time more briefly, or again at greater length, 
now from the starting-point of the empirical consciousness, 
and now in abrupt contradiction thereto. Accordingly 



all individual differences are so entirely overshadowed 
by the one fundamental conception, that while it is true 
that we have before us in the Upanishads no defined 
system, we are able nevertheless to trace the gradual 
development of a system. This latter then consists in 
the increasingly thorough interweaving of a fundamental 
thought originally idealistic with the realistic requirements 
of the empirical consciousness, which make their influence 
more and more felt. That this is so will appear in the 
course of our exposition. These tendencies reached their 
climax first in post-Vedic times in the general system at 
once theological and philosophical, which was shaped 
by the hands of Badar&yana and his conmientator 
S'ankara, and in which full account was taken of the de- 
mands both of the idealism and the realism (by distinguish- 
ing between a higher and a lower knowledge). As the 
System of the Ved&nta this became in India the universal 
foundation of faith and knowledge, and has remained so 
up to the present day, though undergoing great develop- 
ment on every side. It falls naturally into four main 
divisions, as follows : — 

I. Theology; the doctrine of Brahman as the first 
principle of all things. 

II. Gosmology; the doctrine of the evolution of this 
principle to form the universe. 

III. Paychology; the doctrine of the entrance of 
Brahman as soul into the universe evolved from him. 

IV. Eschatology and Ethics ; the doctrine of the fate 
of the soul after death, and the manner of life which is 
therefore required. 

The growth also of the System of the Vedanta, as it 
is disclosed to us in the Upanishads, may with similar 
propriety be discussed under these four principal heads, 
and the subdivisions which the nature of the subject 
suggests. We propose to endeavour to collect under each 


heading all the relevant passages of the Upanishads 
recognised by the later Vedfinta, and where a develop- 
ment of thought presents itself in ' them we shall in 
many instances be furnished with a safer ground for 
determining the chronological position of a text as 
compared with earlier and later treatments of the same 
theme. The gain for philology therefore will consist in 
the provision of a more secure basis for the chronology 
of the Upanishad texts according to their relative age ; 
while on the philosophical side we may hope for a deeper 
insight into the rise of one of the most remarkable and 
prolific creations of thought that the world possesses. 



I. On the Possibility of Knowing Brahman 

1. Is the Veda the Source of Knowledge of Brahman? 

BAdarayana begins the Sdrtraka-mimdmsd, in which is 
contained the oldest systematic epitome of the Vedfi,nta 
doctrine, with the following four sutras : — (1) atha ato 
hrahma'jijndsd, iti, '' next what is called the search after 
Brahman"; (2) janma-ddi asya yata\ iti, "(Brahman is 
that) from which is the birth etc. (i.e, birth, continuance, 
and end) of this (universe)"; (3) s'dstra-yonitvdd, it% 
" an account of its originating from the (sacred) canon " 
{i.e. according to one explanation, because the sacred 
canon is the source of the knowledge of Brahman as 
already defined. To the objection that the canon has in 
view not knowledge but worship, it is then said) ; (4) tat 
tUy samanvaydt^ " that however on account of the agree- 
ment" (of the assertions respecting Brahman, which, if 
they concerned acts of worship alone, would be unnecessary, 
or even impossible). To establish in particular cases this 
agreement of all the VedS,nta texts in their assertions 
respecting Brahman is the aim of the entire work of 
B&darS.yana and Sankara. For them the whole of the 
Veda is of supernatural origin, breathed forth by Brahman 
(according to a passage to be discussed immediately), and 


therefore infallible. From it they construct their entire 
doctrine, and only in instances where the meaning of the 
Vedanta text is doubtful do they call in the aid of 
experience to give the casting vote. 

The question arises, what is the teaching of the Upani- 
shads themselves with regard to the sources from which 
the knowledge of Brahman is to be derived ? 

The very oldest Upanishad texts take for granted a 
rich store of literary works (transmitted of course only 
orally). In Brih. 2. 4. 10, for example, it is said : — "Just 
as, when a fire is laid with damp wood, clouds of smoke 
spread all around, so in truth from this great Being have 
been breathed forth the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the SSma- 
veda, the (hymns) of the Atharvans and the Angirases, the 
narratives, the histories, the sciences, the mystical doctrines 
(upanishads), the poems, the proverbs, the parables, and 
expositions, — all these have been breathed forth from him." 

This passage is in many respects instructive. In the | 
first place we infer from it that there are only three ' 
Vedas,^ and that the hymns of the Atharvans and 
Angirases are not yet recognised as Veda. The first 
trace of such recognition is perhaps Brih. 5. 13, where, 
together with ukthamy yajus and sdman^ a fourth kshatram 
is named. This may denote the Atharvaveda, which 
stands in a closer relation to the warrior caste, and serves 
especially to ward off misfortune (trdyate kshanitoSy as 
kshatram is etymologically explained). To the same pur- 
port is Brih. 6. 4. 13, where a son who has studied one, 
two, or three Vedas is distinguished from one who knows 
" all the Vedas," i.e. probably all four. The diharvaria 
first appears as a fourth veda in ChS.nd. 7. 1. 2, and under 
the name atharva-veda in Mund. 1. 1. 5 ; the latter name 
therefore is first met with in the Atharva Upanishads. 

^ So generally in the older Upanisbad texts, cp. the index to my 
** Upanishadfl " under " Triple knowledge.'' 


The above passage from Brih. 2. 4. 10 further enumerates 
a series of works the meaning of which is sometimes 
doubtful, but which have probably been in part incorpor- 
ated in the Br&hmanas, in part mark the beginnings of 
the later epic. It is, however, especially noticeable that the 
" mystical doctrines " {upanishxidah) appear only in the 
eighth place after itihdsahy purdnam, and vidydy and are 
therefore under no circumstances reckoned to belong to 
the Veda. They had not yet become VedSnta. If 
therefore, finally, the later teachers of the Ved^nta found 
on this passage their dogma that the entire Veda is 
breathed forth from Brahman and is therefore infallible, 
their conclusion would carry with it the infallibility also 
of the other works enumerated, and is certainly incorrect. 
For the passage originally asserts only that, like all other 
natural phenomena, the products of the mind also through- 
out the universe are derived from Brahman.^ Precisely 
the same series of literary works, though with a few addi- 
tions, is enumerated again by Yfijfiavalkhya in Brih. 4. 1. 
2, is explained as "speech" {vac), and is found to be 
inadequate to convey a knowledge of Brahman. At the 
close of this discussion therefore, Janaka, although he has 
"equipped his soul with that mystical doctrine," has 
" studied the Vedas and listened to the mystical doctrine, " * 
yet is unable to give any account of the fate of the soul 
after death. From this it is clear that what was then 
understood by upanishad did not of necessity include an 
exposition of the highest questions ; exactly, indeed, as in 
ChS.nd. 8. 8. 5 the erroneous teaching that the essential 
being of man consists in the body is characterised as 
asurdndm upanisluid. 

1 The passage is taken up also in S'vet 4. 18, **from him wisdom pro- 
ceeded forth at the very beginning" (cp. S'vet. G. 18, Muyd. 2. 1. 4), and 
further in Maitr. 6. 32. 

' cuikUuveda and ukta-upanuhatka, Brih. 4. 2. 1. 


The insufficiency of all Vedic, and in general of all 
existing knowledge is still more clearly laid down in 
Chand. 7. 1, where Narada acknowledges to JSanatkumara : 
— " I have studied, most reverend sir, the Rigveda, Yajur- 
veda, Simaveda, the Atharvaveda as fourth, the epic and 
mythological poems as fifth veda, grammar, necrology, 
arithmetic, divination, chronology, dialectics, politics, 
theology, the doctrine of prayer, necromancy, the art of 
war, astronomy, snake-charming, and the fine arts, — 
these things, most reverend sir, have I studied ; therefore 
am I, most reverend sir, learned indeed in the scripture, 
but not learned in the dtman. Yet I have heard from 
such as are like you that he who knows the atman van- 
quishes sorrow. I, however, most reverend sir, am bewild- 
ered. Lead me then over, I pray, to the farther shore 
that lies beyond sorrow." 

Another proof that the study of the Veda does not 
touch the most important questions is afforded by the 
great transmigration text, which has been preserved in a 
threefold form in Ch&nd. 5. 3-10, Bpih. 6. 2, and with 
considerable variations in Kaush. 1. In all three recen- 
sions SVetaketu professes to have been taught by his 
father Aruni, but fails to answer the eschatological 
questions propounded by the king PravS.hana (in the 
Kaush., Citra), and returning in anger to his father 
reproaches him : — " So then, without having really done 
80, you have claimed to have instructed me " ; ^ "it was 
imagination, then, when you previously declared that 
my instruction was complete."* 

The same thought is expressed in Chdnd. 6. 1, where 
(in a mamier otherwise irreconcilable with the passages 
already quoted) SVetaketu is sent from home by his 
father Aruni to study the Brahman (i.e. the Veda). 
After twelve years "he had thoroughly studied all the 

> CMnd. 5. 3. 4. » Brih. 6. 2. 3. 


Vedas (i.e. the SamhitS,s only of the ric\ yajus, and 
sdman, for from these only is he subsequently tested 
infra Ch&nd. 6. 7. 2), and returned home full of con- 
ceit and arrogance, believing himself wise." He fails, 
however, to answer his father s questions on the One, the 
Self-existent, with whose knowledge everything is known, 
— "assuredly my reverend teachers did not themselves 
know this ; for had they known it, why did they not tell 
it to me ? " Whereupon Aruni imparts to him the perfect 

This is the standpoint of the Taittirlya Upanishad 
also, when it teaches^ that the fttman of the mind 
(manomaya, " composed of manas ") consists of yajus, ric, 
sdman, instruction (ddes'a, i.e. probably the Br&hmana) 
and the hymns of the Atharvas and Angirases ; and pro- 
ceeds to explain this entire S,tman of the mind as a mere 
husk, which we must strip oflf in order to penetrate to the 
real essence of man or of nature. 

The doctrine set forth in these examples finds direct 
expression also at an early period : — " So then, after that 
the Brahman has rejected learning {pdndityam nir- 
vidya), he abides in childhood " ; * " He sought not after 
the knowledge of the books, which only gives rise to 
words without end " ; * " Before whom words and thought 
recoil, not finding him " ; * " Not by learning is the &tman 
attained, not by genius and much knowledge of books." '^ 
In Mund. 1. 1. 5 also the four Vedas are enumerated, and 
together with the six Ved&ngas are reckoned as inferior 
kn owled ge (apard vidyd)^ through which the imperishable 
Being is not known. '^ 

This" attitude of aloofness towards the Vedic know- 
ledge is altered at first gradually and in general, as the 
texts of the Upanishads gain fixity, and become the 

1 Tftitt. Upan. 2. 3. « Bfih. 3. 5. 1. » Brih. 4. 4. 21. 

* Taitt. 2. 4. » Kath. 2. 23. 


Ved&nta.* Henceforth they, and the Veda with them, 
are regarded as sources of the highest knowledge. A first 
trace of this change is shown in Brih. 3. 9. 26, where 
Yajnavalkhya inquires after the purusha of the upanishad 
doctrine (aupanishada purusha) ; this S akalya does not 
know, and thereupon acknowledges defeat. Further, in 
Chand. 3. 5. 4, where the Veda is explained to be nectar, 
the Upanishads, the guhyd' ddes'dh, are the nectar of 
nectar. In Kena 33 the Upanishads are apparently 
attached to the Veda, or more precisely comprise a brief \ 
summary of the entire Vedic material of instruction I 
under the Veda ; for there the Vedas are explained to ' 
be "the sum of the parts" (veddh sarvdngdni), the 
" secret doctrine of Brahman " (brdhmt upanishad , in con- 
trast with other unrecognised Upanishads, such as the 
as^irdndm upanishad referred to above). With the ' 
adoption of the name Veddnta the Upanishads are seen 
to be completely naturalised in the Veda. The term first ^ 
occurs in SVet. 6. 22 : — " From of old was the deepest 
secret disclosed in the Ved&nta." This transfer of the 
VedS^nta to antiquity (purdkalpa) seems to show that the 
author looks back to the Brih., Ch&nd., and other Upani- 
shads of which he makes use from a certain distance. It 
might, however, be understood as a mere expression of the 
high value attached to them, a value that increases with 
the lapse of time. The Veddnta texts appear completely 
established in their later position as sources of the know- 
ledge of Brahman, which is to be gained through the 
interpretation they offer, in the verse which occurs Mund.l 
3. 2. 6 : * — veddnta - vijndna - suniscita - arthdh, etc./ 
" they who have correctly (su) penetrated the meaning of 
the Vedanta knowledge." With this Mund. 2. 2. 3-4 
agrees, where the Upanishads, and the syllable Om a$ 
their most essential element, are described as the bowj 

^ sup. p. 21. « Also Mahun. 10. 22, Kaivalya 3. 


with which men shoot at Brahman as the mark. It is 
otherwise, however, in Mund. 1. 1. 5, where all the four 
Vedas are rejected. The latter passage seems therefore 
to be derived from an earlier period. 

2. Preparatory Means to a Knowledge of Brahman 

In later times a kind of via salutis was constructed in 

I the four ds'ramas^ or life-stages, according to which every 

Indian Br&hman was under obligation to devote himself 

first as a hrahmac'dHn to the study of the Veda, then as 

IgriJiastha to the duties of the sacrifice and other good 

j works, next as vdnaprastha to the practice of asceticism 

j in the jungle, and finally towards the end of life as pari- 

I vrdjaka (hhikshu, sannydsin) to a wandering existence 

without possessions or home, awaiting only his soul's 

release and its reception into the supreme 4tman. 

As originally conceived we find these three dsramOrS in 
Brih. 4. 4. 22 : — ** The Br&hmans endeavour to know him 
by study of the Veda (brahmacdrin)^ by sacrifice and alms- 
giving (grihastha), by penance and fasting (vdnaprastha) ; 
he who knows him becomes a muni; to him the pilgrims 
journey, when they yearn for home {pa7ivrdjaka)." Here 
a certain value as preparatory means to a knowledge of 
Brahman appears to be assigned to the duties of the later 
dsram^s (i.e. study of the Veda, sacrifice, asceticism). 
/ In Chftnd. 2. 23. 1 it is still more clearly expressed : — 
" There are three branches of duty : sacrifice with study 
of the Veda and almsgiving is the first (griJiastha) ; 
asceticism is the second (vdnaprastha) ; the student 
(hrahmac'drin) who lives in the house of his teacher is the 
third, provided that he remains always (as naishthika) in 
the teacher's house. These all carry as their reward the 
divine worlds ; he, however, who abides steadfast in Brah- 
man wins immortality." This passage names only three 
dsramaSy recognises their value, but contrasts with all 


three the " abiding steadfast in Brahman " ; and this last 
is then subsequently developed into a fourth dsrama. An- 
other passage ^ endeavours by a series of bold etymologies 
to prove that sacrifice, silence, fasting, and a life in the 
forest (the pursuits, that is to say, of the grihastha and 
vdnaprastha) are essentially hrahmacaryam ; which 
term must be understood to include here not only the 
student-period, but in a broader sense, as the repeated 
reference to it shows, the entire course of life of a Brahman 
regarded as the way that leads to the atman. In all that 
this aim requires — that would seem to be the meaning 
of the passage — lies the peculiar value of the observances 
of the dsramas. More definitely in Kena 33, asceticism, 
self-restraint, and sacrifice {tapas, dama, karman) are 
described as the preliminary conditions (pratishthdh) 
of the hrdhmt upanishad, i.e. of the real mystical 
doctrine which reveals Brahman. And in K&th. 2. 15 all 
the Vedas, all the practices of tapas and the hrahmacar- 
yam, are described as means by which the syllable Om 
(here equivalent to the knowledge of Brahman) is to be 
sought as the final aim. The observances of the dsramobs 
are recognised also in Mund. 2. 1. 7, in so far as these 
{tapas, s'raddhd, satyam, hrahmacaryam, vidhi) are here 
described as a creation of Brahman. 

With regard to the particular fis'ramas, the study of 
the Veda has been already discussed above, and we pro- 
pose here merely to summarise the most important teach- 
ing of the Upanishads concerning sacrifice and asceticism. 

3. The Sacrifice 

The older Upanishads were so deeply conscious of the 
hostile character of the entire ritualistic system of the 
Brahmans that they could concede to it only a relative 
recognition. It is true that direct attacks are rarely found 

J Chand. 8. 5. 


in the extant texts. Antagonistic explanations, however, 
of the sacrificial rites are all the more frequently offered by 
way either of allegorical interpretation or of the substitution 
of other and usually psychological ideas in their place. 

There is a note almost of mockery in Brih. 1. 4. 10 
when it is said : — " He who worships another divinity 
(than the &tman), and says * it is one and I am another,' is 
not wise, but he is like a house-dog of the gods. There- 
fore just as many house-dogs are useful to men, every 
individual man is useful to the gods. Now the theft of 
only one house-dog is displeasing, how much more of 
many ? Therefore it is displeasing to them that men do 
■ not know this." The remark of Y&jnavalkhya also, in 
IBrih. 3. 9. 6, sounds very contemptuous : — " What is the 
sacrifice ? — ^brute beasts ! " nor is it less so in Brih. 3. 9. 21, 
where it is said that Yama (the god of the dead) has his 
abode in the sacrifice, but the sacrifice in the fees. 

Daring remarks like these we do not find in the 
Ch&ndogya, unless it be in the "Song of the Dog" in 
Chfind. 1. 12, which seems to have been originally a satire 
on the greedy begging propensities of the priests, to 
which in later times an allegorical interpretation was 
given. In Chand. 1. 10-11 also the story is told, not 
without a malicious pleasure, how the three priests 
assembled at the sacrifice were put to confusion by a 
wandering beggar ; and in ChS,nd. 4. 1-3 J&nas'ruti, 
I " rich in faith, open-handed, munificent " {sraddhddeyo, 
' hahvddyt, bahupdkyah\ is compelled not without humili- 
ation to seek instruction from a poor vagrant. 

According to the general view, sacrifice and good 
! works give admission only to the " way of the fathers " 
{pitrit/dna\ which after a temporary sojourn in the moon 
leads back to a new earthly existence. As early as Brih. 
1. 5. 16 it is said : — " by the labour (of the sacrifice) is the 
world of the fathers won, by knowledge the world of the 


gods " ; and other passages describe the way of the fathers j . 
which leads back again to earth as the fate of those ** who ' 
worship in the village with the words ' Sacrifice and deeds 
of piety are our offering/ " ^ " who by sacrifice, almsgiving 
and ascetic practices gain the (heavenly) worlds," ^ ** who 
worship with the words * Sacrifice and deeds of piety are 
our work/ " ' " regarding sacrifice and deeds as the highest 
good, they know no better and are befooled/' * 

Not rarely a meaning suitable to the new doctrine is 
read into the existing sacrificial rites. In Brih. 1. 4. 6, 
for example, the five daily offerings (mahdyajndh) are 
interpreted as a sacrifice to the &tman ; and in Chfi.nd. 4. 
11-14 the three sacrificial fires are explained as forms of 
the &tman's manifestation {eshd asmadvidyd dtmavidyd 

Yet more frequently conditions of the &tman, as em- 
bodied in the world of nature or of man, were substituted j 
for the ceremonies of the ritual. In Brih. 3. 1, in place of J 
the four priests as organs of the gods, there are found 
speech, eye, breath and manas as organs of the atman. In 
Chand. 4. 16 the wind is explained to be the essence of 
the sacrifice, mind and speech the essence of the sacrificing r 
priests. In Ait. Ar. 3. 2. 6, Brih. 1. 5. 23, and Kaush. 2. 5, 
inhalation and speech replace the agnihotram ; and this 
thought is further developed on the basis of Chand. 5. 
11-24 into the theory of the prdndgnihotram, a fuller dis- 
cussion of which will be given below. The substitution also 
for the sacrifice of the man, his organs and bodily functions, 
is greatly favoured. For example, in Ch&nd. 3. 16 the 
three life-periods take the place of the three pressings of the 
soma, in Ch&nd. 3. 17 human activities of the various acts of 
the soma festival, and in Mah&nar. 64 the bodily organs 
of the implements of the sacrifice. This last thought is 

1 ChAnd. 5. 10. 3. « Brih. 6. 2. 16. 

» Pras^na 1. 9. * Mund. 1. 2. 10. 


carried out in extreme detail in Pranagnihotra Up. 3-4. 
The verse Taitt. 2. 5 also belongs here, inasmuch as, 
correctly translated, it asserts, — " He presents knowledge 
as his sacrifice, knowledge as his works." 

It is first in the l ater Upan ishads that we meet with 
a more friendly attitude towards the sacrificial cult. In 
Kath. 1. 17, in a style altogether excessive and opposed to 
the upanishad spirit, there is promised for the fulfilment 
of certain ceremonies and works " the overstepping of birth 
and death," " entrance into everlasting rest " ; and in 
[ K&th. 3. 2 the NAciketa fire is explained as the bridge 
which bears the sacrificers to the supreme eternal Brahman, 
to the " fearless shore." Here even if we make allowance 
for poetical extravagance of expression, a co-operation at 
least with the cult for the attainment of salvation is 
asserted. S vet. 2. 6-7 marks a further step in ad- 
vance : — 

Where Agni from the chips of wood 
Darts forth, where V&yu too appears, 
Where the Soma also flows freely, — 
There is the manas developed. 

By Savitar, at his impulse, 
' Delight yourselves in the ancient prayer ; 
If there you take your stand. 
The deeds of the past soil you no more. 

The expression here used, " Delight yourselves in the 
ancient prayer " (jusheta Irrahma pHrvyam) indicates that 
a former practice is reintroduced and held in honour. 
This reaction attains its climax in the Maitrilyanlya Up., 
which explains at the very outset ^ that " the fire-laying 
for the ancestors " is in truth " a sacrifice to Brahman " ; 
and in the fourth Prapathaka ventures the thought that 
without study of the Veda, observance of caste-duties, 
and the following of the due brahmanical order of life 

^Maitr. 1. 1. 


according to the fis'ramas, the deliverance of the natural ■ 
&tman and its re-union with the supreme S,tman are ^ 
impossible. The key to the understanding of this reaction 
is given by the polemic against the heretics which is 
found in Maitr. 7. 8-10. Br&hmanism, in view of the con-; 
sequences which the attitude of the earlier Upanishads haq 
entailed in Buddhism and similar manifestations, returns 
to its original position. 

4. Asceticism (tapas) 

A feeling of admiration has always been excited when, 
contrary to the natural desires which all experience for 
life, pleasure and prosperity, there has been exhibited a 
self-mastery, which voluntarily submits to privations and 
sufferings either for the sake of the well-being of others, 
or independently of this external and as it were accidental 
aim, which indeed as far as the real worth of the respect- 
ive actions is concerned is in itself without significance. 
An act of self-denial would seem the more pure the 
less it were combined with any external end, and the 
more it were undertaken with the sole object of subduing 
the selfish impulses of nature. It were as though a super- 
human, supernatural power had been thereby manifested 
in man, which, springing firom the deepest roots of his 
being, exalted the doer far above the world of men with 
its selfish interests, yea even above the world of the gods, 
and in another and higher order of things than ours 
assigned to him his place. 

It is a tribute to the high metaphysical capacity of the 
Indian people, that the phenomenon of asceticism made 
its appearance among them earlier and occupied a larger 
place than among any other known people. (We leave 
out of consideration at this point the later misuse of 
asceticism in the interest of merely selfish aims to excite 
wonder or to secure profit.) 


As early as the creation myths we saw how the creator of 
the universe prepared himself for his work by the practice 
of tojpas ; in which word the ancient idea of the **heat" 
which serves to promote the incubation of the egg of 
the universe blends with the ideas of the exertion, fatigue, 
self-renunciation, by means of which the creator is trans- 
muted (entirely or in part) into the universe which he 
proposes to create. According to this conception, every- 
thing that is great in the universe is dependent on ta/pas. 
In a later hymn of the Rigveda also,^ truth and right, 
and with them the entire universe, are bom of tapas. 
From s'rama (toil) and tapds the first-born Skambha arose 
and permeated the universe,* in tapas he was rocked on 
the surface of the primeval waters.* By the tapas with 
which he discharges his duties the student of the Veda, 
according to another hymn,* satisfies his teacher, the 
gods, and the realms of space, ascends on high as the 
sun, protects both worlds, etc., in his course of life 83 
a Br&hman. By tapas the ruler protects his kingdom, 

' the gods have escaped death, the student of the Veda 
practised tapa^s in the primeval ocean, when he, creating 

; the universe, stood on the water's surface. And as early 
even as the Rigveda the seven rishis together betake 
themselves to the practice of tapa^ ; ^ and the souls on 
their entrance into heaven are apostrophised : — 

Which invincible by tapas, 
Have won their way by tapas to the lights 
That have accomplished the severest tapas — ^ 
To these now enter in I • 

; Another hymn of the Rigveda ^ portrays the inspired 
muni as with long hair, in dirty yellow robes, girt only with 

1 X. 190. 1. « Atharvav. X. 7. 36. 

« Atharvav. X. 7. 38. * Atharvav. XI. 5. 

» 9igv. X. 100. 4. « Rigv. X. 164. 2. 
• Rigv. X. 136. 


the wind he roams on the desert paths. Mortals behold 
only his body. But he himself, endowed with super- 
natural power, flies through the air, drinks with the storm- 
god firom the bowl of both the oceans of the universe, on 
the track of the wind is raised aloft to the gods, transcends 
all forms, and as companion of the gods co-operates with 
them for the salvation of mankind. 

By the time of the oldest Upanishad texts the ascetic 
life has already been elevated into a special ** calling,"^ 
which assumes equal rank by the side of the position of 
householder. Men abandon household goods and family, 
as Y &jaavalkhya d oes in Brih. 2. 4, and depart into the 
solitude of the forest in order to practise tapas, and by 
gradually increasing privations and penances to destroy 
in themselves the last remains of dependence on earthly 

It remains to inquire what attitude was adopted 
by the authors and defenders of the doctrines of the 
Upanishads in presence of this cult of an ascetic 

The ChSudogya Upanishad sets before us in the first 
place Upakosala, a student of the Veda, who grieves* 
that the teacher refuses to impart to him knowledge, and 
fsdling sick declines to take nourishment. To the invita- 
tion to eat he replies : — " Alas, in mankind there are such 
troops of desires. I am full of sickness, and incapable of 
eating." (In these words the characteristic motive of 
Indian, as of all asceticism, is evident.) Thereupon the 
three sacrificial fires take pity on him, and the instruc- 
tion which they give to him begins with the words : — 
" Brahman is life, Brahman is joy (kam), Brahman is space 
(khamy It is implied in these words that Brahman, as 
the principle of life, of bliss {kam = dnanda, as in Ch^nd. 

1 dharmaskandhoy Ch&nd. 2. 23. 
* tapto brahmacM, 4. 10. 2-4. 


7. 23 sukham\ and of infinity, is not to be attained by 
the way of a gloomy asceticism. 

In ChS,nd. 2. 23 tapas is spoken of as the especial 
obligation of the anchorite. As such, a recognised position 
is accorded it by the side of the student and householder. 
All three " bring as their reward the divine worlds ; he, 
however, who abides steadfast in Brahman wins im- 
mortality." This is not in contradiction with the 
statement of Ch&nd. 5. 10. 1, that the way of the gods, 
which leads to Brahman without return, and marks still 
for the present time the loftiest aim, is promised to those 
, ye ca ime 'ranye * sraddhd tapa ' iti updsate ; for these 
words mean, " those who worship in the forest using the 
words ' faith is our asceticism.' " The reference is to the 
anchorite ; but something else — viz. faith — is here sub- 
stituted for the asceticism which is his calling. 

To the same effect the Brihad&ranyaka Upan. expresses 
itself when, reproducing this passage in an appendix,^ it yet 
more definitely opens up the prospect of the way of the gods 
fto those alone " who observe faith and truth in the forest " ; 
but on the other hand offers only the way of the fathers in re- 
turn for sacrifice, almsgiving, and asceticism. Of these last 
it is said* that through them men seek to know Brahman, 
vividishanti. More directly still Yfijnavalkhya expresses 
himself in Brih. 3. 8. 10 :— " Of a truth, G&rgi, he who 
does not know this imperishable one, and in this world sacri- 
fices and distributes alms and does penance {tapas tapyate) 
for many thousands of years, wins thereby only finite 
(reward)." Brih. 5. 11 again teaches that sickness the 
procession to the grave and cremation are the best 
asceticism (paramam tapas). Here, then, the suffer- 
ings of life and death are rated higher than artificially 
induced penances. 

We meet with a disposition more favourable to asceti- 

1 Brih. 6. 2. 16. « Brih. 4. 4. 22. 


cism as early as the Taittiriya Upanishad. The first part 
which is appointed for the student demands of him^ 
asceticism and the study of the Veda, and quotes in this 
connection the views of two teachers, of wliom the one 
requires " asceticism alone," the other only study of the 
Veda, "for this is asceticism." The Upanishad adopts 
an intermediate position by its demand for asceticism 
combined with the study of the Veda. In the last and 
latest part* a higher value is placed upon asceticism, 
where Bhrigu is repeatedly urged by his father Varuna : — 
"By tapas seek to know Brahman, for tapas is Brahman." 
Following his injunction, by progressive tapas he rises 
step by step to the recognition of food, the vital breath, 
manas, knowledge, and finally bliss as Brahman, and with 
this last the highest degree attainable by tapa^ is reached. 
The Mah&n&r&yana Upan., which is attributed to the 
Taittiriya school, is much later still ; in 62. 11 it sets nydsa, 
"renunciation," above asceticism, thereby preparing the 
way for the standpoint of the Sanny&sa Upanishad ; of 
which later. Kena 33 also, as already mentioned, reckons 
tapas among the foundations {i.e. the presuppositions, 
pratishthdh) of Brahman; and according to SVet. 1. 15, 
16; 6. 21, the knowledge of Brahman is based upon 
dtmavidyd (the text of the Ved^nta) and tapas. 

A step, however, far beyond all the preceding is taken 
by the Mundaka and Prasna in their reproduction of the 
above-mentioned theory of the ChS,nd. and Brihad. con- 
cerning the ways of the gods and the fathers with a 
characteristic variation. In Mund. 1. 2. 11 the way of 
the gods is promised to those " who practise asceticism and 
faith in the forest" {tapah-s'raddhe ye hi upavasanti 
aranye); and Prasna 1. 10 ofifers it to those "who have 
sought the atman by asceticism, the manner of life of a 
Brahman, faith and knowledge." It is remarkable that 
iTaitt. 1.9. «Taitt,3. 


in Mund. 3. 2. 4 a spurious tapas is mentioned (tapas 
alihgam)^ i.e. probably one that lacks the characteristic 
mark of knowledge. 

As was to be expected, in the Maitr. Upan. is revived 
the ancient Vedic standpoint in regard to tapas, in presence 
of Buddhist and other errors. It is true that asceticism 
alone does not suffice, for in Maitr. 1. 2 it is practised in 
the severest form by Brihadratha without procuring for 
him the knowledge of the S-tman. As a preliminary con- 
dition, however, it is indispensable : — " without being an 
ascetic it is impossible either to attain the knowledge of 
the atman, or to bring work to fruition." * 

5. Other Preliminary Conditions 

In the older Upanishads we are repeatedly met by the 
prohibition to communicate a doctrine or ceremony to 
anyone except a son or a pupil adopted by the rite of 
upanayanam. In Ait. Ar. 3. 2. 6. 9 the mystical 
meaning of the combinations of the letters must be 
" communicated to no one, who is not a pupil, who has 
not been a pupil for a whole year, who does not propose 
himself to be a teacher." * In Ch&nd. 3. 11. 5 the doctrine 
of Brahman as the sun of the universe should "his father 
make known as Brahman to his eldest son alone, or to 
a trusted pupil, but to no one else, whoever he may 
be. And though he were to be oflfered in return for it all 
the kingdoms of the ocean-girdled earth, yet should he 
bethink himself *the other is of greater value.'" In 
Brih. 6. 3. 12 also the ceremony of the mixed drink 
"must be communicated to none but a son or a 

Similarly in the Upanishads we find men and gods 
taking the fiiel in their hands, and submitting to the con- 

^ na aiapaskasya dtmajMne ^dhigamaf^f Jcarmasiddhir vd, Maitr. 4. 3. 
^ cp. also AiU Ar. 6. 3. a 4. 


ditions of pupilage, just as according to Ch.&ndv 8, 11. 3 , 
Indra himself was obliged to live with Praj&pati as a pupil 
for one hundred and one years in order to obtain the perfect 
instruction. Other examples are Kaush. 1. 1, 4. 19, Byih. 
2. 1. 14, Prasna 1. 1, Mund. 1. 2. 12. 

Yet in the earlier period this demand is still not 
absolute. In Ch&nd. 4. 9. 3 it is merely said that 
"the knowledge which is gained from a teacher (as 
opposed to supernatural instruction by beasts, fire, geese 
or ducks ^) leads most certainly to the goal"; and in 
Chand. 5. 11. 7 the king As'vapati instructs the six 
Br&hmans who approach him with the fuel in their hands 
(in token of their wish to become pupils) anupantya, 
"without first admitting them as his pupils." So also 
in Brih. 2. 4 Y&jliavalkhya instructs his wife Maitreyl, 
and in Brih. 4. 1-2, 3-4 the king Janaka, who yet were 
not strictly his pupils; and in Brih. 3 he imparts in- 
formation on the deepest questions (as e.g. Bpih. 3. 8, 
in the conversation with G&rgl) in the presence of a 
numerous circle of hearers, and only exceptionally, when 
he desires to explain to Artabh&ga the mystery of the 
soul's transmigration, does he retire with him into 
privacy.* Ordinarily, however, a teacher is necessary to dis- ' 
perse the mist of empirically acquired knowledge from our 
eyes (a^X^ Kai TOi am 6<f>0a\fi&v tXov^ fj irpXv hnj^v, — as 
Schopenhauer represents the spirit of Kant saying to him 
in the words of Homer), and of this in particular the 
beautiful passage in Ch&nd. 6. 14 treats : — " Precisely, 
my dear sir, as a man who has been brought blindfold 
from the country of Gandhdra (beyond the Indus), and 
then set at liberty in the desert, goes astray to the east 
or north or south, because he has been brought thither 
blindfold, and blindfold set at liberty ; but after that 
someone has taken ofi* the bandage, and has told him, 

1 Tauchervogel, "divers." 'Brih. 3. 2. 13. 


* In this direction GandhS,ra lies, go in this direction/ 
instructed and prudent, asking the road from village to 
village, he finds his way home to Gandhfi,ra ; even so the 
man, who in this world has met with a teacher, becomes 
conscious, * To this (transitory world) shall I belong only 
until the time of my release, thereupon shall I go home/ " 
1 The teacher is represented as indispensable to knowledge 
in K&Jh. 2. 8: — "Apart from the teacher there is no 
access here " ; from which the incidental conclusion may 
be drawn, that at the time of the K&th. Upan. the older 
Upanishads were not yet committed to writing. 

The later Ved^nta mentions, side by side with the 
external (vdhya) means to a knowledge of Brahman 
(study of the Veda, sacrifice, almsgiving, penance, fasting), 
as more direct (pratydsanna) means the following : 
tranquillity of mind, self-restraint, renunciation, patience, 
coUectedness/ This requirement may be traced back to 
Brih. 4. 4. 23 : — " Therefore he who knows this is 
tranquil, self-restrained, self-denying, patient, and col- 
lected/' It is true that a doubt arises whether this 
passage has reference to the means of acquiring the 
knowledge of Brahman, or rather to the fruits of that 
knowledge (whether bh^vd here signifies '* after that he 
has become," or " since he is "). By the later Upanishads 
it is understood already, as later still by S'ankara, in the 
first sense, e.g. K&th. 2. 24 : — " No one who has not 
ceased from violence, who is restless, unsubdued, whose 
heart is not yet tranquil, can by searching attain unto 
him/' The expressions here used, avirata, asdnta^ 
asamdhita, refer back unquestionably to the s'dnto, ddnta\ 
uparatas, titikshuh^ samdhito bMtvd of the passage 
from the Brihad&ranyaka. The same is true also of 
pras'dntac'ittdya^ s'amanvitdya^ declared in Mund. 1. 2. 
13 to be presuppositions of instruction. 

1 Cp. alBO Yed&ntas&ia 17-23. 


In later Upanishads this preliminary requirement is 
connected with the demand already referred to for a 
teacher. E.g. S'vet. 6. 22 : — " Impart it to no one, who 
is not tranquil {na aprasdntdya), who is not a son or 
a pupil (na aputrdya asishydya vd)." Similarly, and 
perhaps with a reminiscence of this passage, in Maitr. 6. 
29 : — " This profoundest mystery of all is to be revealed 
to no one, who is not a son or a pupil {na aputrdya, na 
asishydya), and who has not yet become tranquil {na 

The finding a teacher, and the five requirements of I 
tranquillity of mind, self-restraint, renunciation, patience, 1 
collectedness, are the preliminary conditions that con-| 
tinually recur. With them others are occasionally 
mentioned ; for example, in Ch&nd. 7. 26. 2, purity of 
food, and as a consequence purity of nature {sattva- 
s'uddhi). The latter, like so much besides from Ch&nd. 
7, is reproduced in Mund. 3 in the verse 3. 2. 6, and 
thence passed over into Mah&n&r. 10. 22 and Kaivalya 
3-4. In K&th. 6. 9 an indefinite requirement is laid 
down, that a man should be " prepared in heart and 
feeling and spirit"; and in Mund. 3. 2. 10-11 participa- 
tion in the Brahma vidy& is combined with the preliminary 
condition of the fulfilment of the "vow of the head" 
{s'irovratam), by which is probably to be understood, not 
as S'ankara s'irasi agnidhdraimm, but merely the practice, 
which is already implied in the name Mundaka, of 
shaving the head bare. In still later Upanishads also 
we occasionally meet with special limitations on this 
participation. Thus Nrisimhap. 1. 3 prohibits the com- 
munication of the maxims of the members (not the king 
of the maxims^) to a woman or a S'Adra, and R&map. 
84 enjoins that the diagram must not be imparted to 
common (illiterate, prdkrita) men. 

^ MaiUrardja, i.e. the charm or magical song. 


6. The Standpoint of Ignorance^ of Knowledge^ and 
of superior Knowledge in relation to Brahman 

The general view that lies at the basis of the Upani- 
shads is that Brahman, i.e. the &tman, is an object of 
knowledge. " The fitman, in truth, should be seen, heard, 
comprehended, reflected upon."^ "The Self . . . that 
should we search for and endeavour to know." ^ To the 
same eflect are numerous other passages. And the aim 
of all the Upanishad texts is to conmaunicate this 
knowledge of Brahman.* 

Very soon, however, it came to be realised that this 
knowledge of Brahman was essentially of a diflerent 
nature from that which we call " knowledge " in ordinary 
life. For it would be possible, like N&rada in Ch&nd. 7. 
1. 2, to be familiar with all conceivable branches of 
knowledge and empirical science, and yet to find oneself 
in a condition of ignorance (avidyd) as regards the 
Brahman. This thought, originally purely negative, 
became in course of time more and more positive in its 
character. It was negative in so far as no experimental 
knowledge led to a knowledge of Brahman ; and it was 
positive in so far as the consciousness was arotised that 
the knowledge of empirical reality was an actual 
hindrance to the knowledge of Brahman. The concep- 
tion of avidyd was developed from the negative idea of 
mere ignorance to the positive idea of false knowledge. 
The experimental knowledge which reveals to us a world 
of plurality, where in reality only Brahman exists, and a 
body where in reality there is only the soul, must be a 
mistaken knowledge, a delusion, a mdyd. This is a very 
noteworthy step in advance. It is the same which 
Parmenides and Plato took when they afiirmed that the 
knowledge of the world of sense was mere deception, cSSoiXa ; 

1 Brill. 2. 4. 5. ' GMnd. 8. 7. 1. ' hrahmanidyd, dtnuwidyd. 


which Kant took, when he showed that the entire reality 
of experience is only apparition and not reality (" thing 
in itself"). It is of the greatest interest to follow up the 
earliest foreshadowings of this thought in India, and to 
trace how the term avidyd passed from the negative idea 
of ignorance to the positive idea of a false knowledge. 

The first suggestion of this is found already in the 
Rigveda, where in X. 81. 1 it is said of the great All- 
father that he, when he entered into the lower world, was 
prathamac'had^ " veiling his original nature." ^ Further, 
an obscure passage of the S atapatha Brahmana * describes 
how Brahman, when creating the upper and the lower 
worlds together with their gods, " revealed " himself, how 
he projected himself into them by means of his two " great 
immensities" {ahhva)^ his two "great appearances" 
{yaksha)^ that is to say by means of his names and forms, 
but how he himself "entered into the half beyond" 
(pardrdham agacchat). 

The further development of these thoughts is found 
in the Upanishads. In Brih. 1. 6. 3 the world of names, 
forms, and works is defined (by means of one of those 
brief mystical formulaB, of which perhaps the most ancient 
" Upanishads " consisted, sup. p. 16 f.) as amritam satyena 
channam^ " the immortal (Brahman) veiled by the 
(empirical) reality." The explanation of the formula is 
added immediately : — " The Pr&na {i.e. the fitman) to wit 
is the immortal, name and form are the reality ; by these 
the Pr&na is veiled." As here (and in Taitt. 2. 6, — " as 
reality he becomes everything that exists ; for reality is 
the name given to it" ), so also in Brih. 2. 1. 20 the word 
satyam denotes the reality of experience ; in this latter 
passage it is said in another " Upanishad " with an added 
explanation : — " Its Upanishad is ' the reality of reality,' 

^ mvkkyamy nithprcvpancamy pdramdrthikam rUpam dvfinvan, Sdya^a. 
« 11. 2. 3. 


(satyasya satyam) ; that is to say, the vital spirits 
(together with the worlds, gods, and living creatures, as 
we may infer from that which precedes) are the reality, 
and he is their reality." He is — so we are to understand 
— in the so-called reality that part of it which is actually 
real. This is also the meaning of the illustrations in 
Brih. 2. 4. 7-9 : the &tman is the musical instrument 
(drum, conch, lyre), the phenomena of the universe are its 
notes; just as the notes can only be seized when the 
instrument is seized, so the world of plurality can only 
be known when the &tman is known ; only of him is 
there knowledge, all else is " not knowledge." Similarly 
Ch&nd. 6. 1. 3 teaches that the " transformation " of the 
'&tman into the manifold world of phenomena is only 
vdc'drambhariamf " a matter of words," or ndmadheyam^ 
" a mere name," and that " in reality " there exists only 
the One Being, i.e. the Atman. It is only of him there- 
fore that a real knowledge is possible. All experimental 
knowledge, the four Vedas and the whole series of 
empirical sciences, as they are enumerated in Ch&nd. 7. 1. 
2-3, are, as is there said, ndma eva, " mere name " ; and 
N&rada, deeply versed as he is in them, finds himself in 
"darkness," from which first by the knowledge of the 
&tman is he guided across to the other shore.^ Souls 
and the "real desires" by which they are affected for 
continued life after death in the world of Brahman are, 
as expounded in ChS,nd. 8. 3. 1-2, by the empirical 
knowledge which teaches annihOation at death "veiled 
in unreality. They really exist, but unreality is spread 
over them." And "just as he who is ignorant of 
its hiding-place fails to find the golden treasure, 
though he pass and repass it continually, so all these 
creatures fail to find this world of Brahman though they 
daily enter into it ; for by unreality are they turned aside." 

1 Ghdnd. 7. 26. 2. 


What is here described as empty word, mere name, 
darkness, unreality, i.e. the entire empirical knowledge of 
things, is further denoted by avidyd, " ignorance." This 
term occurs perhaps for the first time in Brih. 4. 4. 3, 4, 
where it is said of the soul, when it casts off the body in 
death, that it ** dismisses ignorance " {avidydm gamayitvd). 
Ignorance is henceforth the knowledge that rests on 
experience; true knowledge is only of Brahman. Like 
Plato's teaching that only the eternal is an object of 
iirumifi% while of the world of phenomena subject to 
the flux of Heraclitus only a So^a is possible, in S'vet. 5. 1 
the explanation is given : — " Ignorance is the fleeting, 
knowledge is the eternal," ^ i.e. it is an object of knowledge, 
K&th. 2. 1-6 contrasts ignorance and knowledge with 
poetic vividness ; the goal of ignorance is pleasure {preyas\ 
the goal of knowledge is salvation (sreyas). The former 
says, " this is the world " {ayam loko) ; the gaze of the 
latter is directed on another world : — 

Widely different indeed and contrasted are the things 
Whicli men call knowledge and ignorance, 
I see Nac'iketas endeavouring to gain knowledge; 
The troop of pleasures has not deluded thee. 

Wandering in the depth of ignorance, 
Deeming themselves wise and learned, 
Thus aimlessly fools tramp hither and thither, 
Lake blind men led by comrades blind as they. 

The last verse is further amplified in Mund. 1. 2. 8-10 ; 
and both verses are quoted in Maitr. 7. 9. The subject 
is similarly treated in the verses Brih. 4. 4. 11-12, which 
are a later insertion (cp. K&th. 1. 3) : — 

These worlds indeed are joyless. 
Shrouded in thick darkness ; 
Into them after death aU go 
Who are unenlightened and ignorant 

^ JbAaram iu amdyd hi amritam tu vidyd. 


Yet he who perceives the ^tman, 
And is conscious that " I am he " ; 
What desire what love could he still have 
For the body racked with pain 1 

The infatuation of ignorance is yet more strongly depicted 
in ls'& 3 : — 

This universe indeed is demon-haunted, 
Shrouded in thick darkness, 
Therein go to death all 
Who have slain their own souls. 

Since the knowledge of the &tman is contrasted with 
the reality of experience as the realm of ignorance, it 
cannot be gained by mere speculation (tarka) concerning 
it, but only by a revelation communicated through 
the teacher.^ According as the fitman is conceived as 
a divine person, this revelation is represented as an act of 
his grace : * — 

Not through instruction is the fttman won, 

Not through genius or much book-learning; 

Only by the man whom he chooses is he comprehended : 

To him the fttman reveals his essence. 

Another verse,* which in all probability originally pro- 
mised the vision of the &tman concealed in the heart to 
him who " by pacifying the organs of sense " * has become 
"indifferent" (ah^atu), has received a theistic colouring 
in SVet. 3. 20 and Mah&n&r. 10. 1, in that it represents 
the knowledge of the fitman (whose abode is here also still 
in the heart) as received " by the favour of the creator."^ 
A still more pronounced theism, that has wandered far 
from the original conceptions of the doctrine of the fitman, 
is exhibited by the entire S vetas'vatara Upanishad, and 

1 K&th. 2. 7-9. * E&th. 2. 23, repeated in Mu^d. 3. 2. 3. 

s K&th. 2. 20, as read by S'ankara. 

^ dhdtU'prasdddd ; cp. Oh&nd. 6. 16, dtmtmitarvendriydi^itampratuhihdpya. 
B dhdtuh praadddd. 


especially by the prayers for spiritual enlightenment to 
Savitar, Rudra, and Brahman which arc interwoven with 
it in 2. 1-5, 3. 1-6, 4. 1. 

The doctrine thus far set forth, according to which 
Brahman or the fttman becomes known by virtue of a 
(metaphysical) knowledge, is transcended within the 
limits of the Upanishads themselves by another and 
undeniably more profound conception, according to which 
there neither is nor can be a knowledge of the fttman as \ 
the sole all-pervading essence of thing& For such know- ' 
ledge assumes a knowing subject and a known object, and 
therefore a dualism ; the &tman, however, forms an absolute ' 
\anity. We propose briefly to trace the development of 
this thought under the guidance of the texts. 

The primitive source of the entire conception of the 
unknowableness of the &tman is to be found in the 
speeches of Yajnavalkhya in the Brihad&ranyaka ; and 
the daring and abruptness with which the doctrine is 
here introduced, as well as the originality of the method 
by which it is established, seem to point to an individual 
as its author. In his discourse with Maitreyl Yajnaval- 
khya propounds, in Brih. 2. 4. 12, the paradoxical asser- 
tion, — " after death there is no consciousness " ; and 
proceeds to confirm it with the words : — " For where 
there is as it were a duality (in reality there is not), 
there one sees the other, smells, hears, addresses, compre- 
hends, and knows the other; but where everything has 
become to him his own self, how should he smell, see, 
hear, address, understand, or know anyone at all ? How 
should he know him, through whom he knows all this, 
how should he know the knower?" On careful 
consideration two thoughts will be found to be implied 
here : ( 1 ) the supreme &tman is unknowable, because 
he is the all-comprehending unity, whereas all knowledge 
presupposes a duality of subject and object; but (2) the 


I individual Titman also ("through whom he knows all 
I this ") is unknowable, because in all knowledge he is the 
knowing subject ("the knower"), consequently can never 
' be object. Essentially these two thoughts are one ; for 
the individual atman is the supreme fitman, and in pro- 
portion as we rise to this knowledge the illusion of the 
object vanishes, and the knowing subject alone remains 
without object ; and this subject, alike in its waking hours 
and in dreams, fashions the objects outside of itself, — " for 
he is the creator."^ The same thought is found in five 
other passages in the speeches of Y&jiiavalkhya, and these 
we quote partly abridged : — " Thou canst not see the seer 
of seeing, thou canst not hear the hearer of hearing, thou 
canst not comprehend the comprehender of comprehending, 
thou canst not know the knower of knowing."* "In 
truth, G&rgl, this imperishable one sees but is not seen, 
hears but is not heard, comprehends but is not compre- 
hended, knows but is not known. Beside him there is no 
seer, beside him there is no hearer, beside him there is 
none that comprehends, beside him there is none that 
knows."* The same words recur almost unaltered in 
Brih. 3. 7. 23 at the close of a paragraph, and on this 
account the association of the thread of the universe with 
the inner guide appears to be less primitive. In Brih. 4. 
3. 23-31 it is said of the deep sleeper: — "When then 
he does not see, yet still he is seeing, although he sees 
not ; since for the seer there is no interruption of seeing, 
because he is imperishable ; but there is no second beside 
him, no other distinct from him, for him to see." The 
same is then repeated of smell, taste, speech, hearing, 
thought, sensation, and knowledge. "For (only) where 
there is as it were another is the other seen, smelt, tasted, 
addressed, heard, conceived, felt, and known." And in 
Brih. 4. 4. 2, of the dying it is said : — " Because he has 

1 Brih. 4. 3. 10. « Brih. 3. 4. 2. • Brih. 3. 8. 11. 


become one, therefore he sees not as they say (in reality 
he continues ever seeing), because he has become one, 
therefore he does not smell, taste, address, hear, conceive, 
feel, or know the other, as they say." 

If we consider the originality, the close reasoning, and 
(as we shall see later) the agreement of the thoughts in 
the passages quoted with the other views of Y&jnaval- 
khya, we shall be led to regard as very probable the 
dependence of all the passages that remain to be quoted, 
and therefore of the entire further development of the 
doctrine of the unknowableness of the &tman, on the 
thoughts, perhaps even on the text of the Brihad§.ranyaka. 
The two passages from the Chfi,ndogya, which we have 
now to cite, may be regarded as early examples : — " His' 
relations seat themselves around the dying man, and ask 
him, * Do you recognise me ; do you recognise me ? ' As 
long as his speech has not yet entered into the manas, his 
manas into the prana, his pr&na into the heat, the heat 
into the supreme godhead, he recognises them. But 
after that his speech has entered into the manas, his 
manas into the prSiia, his pr&na into the heat, the heat 
into the supreme godhead, then he no longer recognises 
them." ^ This passage, self-contained as it is, nevertheless 
appears in its leading ideas to be dependent already ouj 
the last-named passage of the Brih. 4. 4. 2, since the 
reverse relation is not in any case admissible. In ChS,nd. 
6. 9 and 6. 10 also the doctrine of unconsciousness on 
entrance into the Existent, set forth in the illustrations of 
the bees and the rivers, seems to be indebted to the passage 
first adduced fix)m Brih. 2. 4. 12 : — "After death there is 
no consciousness." And similarly the following words in 
Brih. 2. 4. 14 are echoed in Chand. 7. 24. 1 : — "If a man 
sees no other (beside himself), hears no other, knows no 
other, that is tJie infinite {bh4man); if he sees^ hears, 

1 Clijind. 6. 15. 1-2 ; cp. 6. 8. 6. 


knows another, that is the finite {cUpam). The infinite 
is the immortal, the finite is mortal." The suddenness 
and disconnectedness with which this idea is introduced 
seems to indicate dependence on the thoughts of Y&jna- 

It is primarily due to the influence of this conception 
that, later on, in opposition to the general tendency of 
the Upanishade to seek after and to expound the knowledge 
of the fttman, the theory is more and more elaborated that 
the &tman (whose unknowableness, as we shall see subse- 
quently, had been already so strongly emphasised by Yfi.jna- 
valkhya with his neti neti) is no tme object of knowledge. 
That knowledge of the &tman, which sets it as an object 
over-against itself, and which therefore is still infected with 
duality, now appears as a lower standpoint, which must be 
transcended in order to attain to complete oneness with 
Brahman, with the Atman. 

This view is set forth for the first time clearly in the 
magnificently elaborated description of the universe in 
Taitt. 2. The author of this text begins with the incor- 
poration of the fitman in the material world and the 
human body, as the self dependent on nourishment. 
From this as mere external covering he advances, pene- 
trating deeper and deeper into the kernel of the living 
being as it here presents itself, to the self of life, of mind, 
and finally of knowledge, i.e. the vijndnamaya dtman. 
This last, however, to which Brahman is an object of 
knowledge, is also a mere outer covering of the self com- 
posed of bliss, which realises its oneness with Brahman. 
At this point the question is propounded : — 

Whether any ignorant man departing reaches yonder world f 
Or whether pevchance the wise departing wins the other worlds 

Neither the one nor the other is in effect the answer 
conveyed by the following words, which describe how 


Brahman in creating the universe enters into it as Being, 
expressible, self-dependent, consciousness, reality, while it 
in harmony with its own nature persists as the Opposite, 
inexpressible, independent, unconsciousness, unreality. 
Bliss consists in the sense of oneness with the latter: 
— ** For irhen a man finds his peace and resting-place in 
thill inTifliUe, unreal, inexpressible* un&thomable, then has 
he attained to peaoe.^ If, however, a man admits therein 
an interval, a separation (or ' ever so small a separation ' 
between himself as subject and the &tman as object), 
then his unrest continues; it is moreover the unrest of 
one who imagines himself wise (while making Brahman 
the object of knowledge)." For no language, no con- 
ception, is adequate to express Brahman : — 

Before whom words and thought recoil not finding him, 
Who knows the bliss of this Brahman, 
For him nothing excites terror any more. 

If, however, Brahman cannot be reached by the way 
of knov^ledge, how can union with him be accomplished ? 
This is the question with which the following texts are 
occupied. In Kena 8 a student propounds the question : — 

That to whidli no egrt powtafeei^ 

Hor iptaeli nor tlionght, 

WUflh iMMriwi nnkiiowa, and wa im it not» 

How can infltnaHoii tlunla la glvan to nal 

And the answer is suggested (Kena 3 and 11) : — 

It is distinct from the intelligible, 
And yet it is not therefore unknown I — 
Thus have we from our forefathers 
Received in turn the instruction. 

Qui J h» who knows it not knows it, 
Wko knows it^ he knows it not ; 
Unknown is it by the wise, 
Bat bj the ignoxant known. 

^ abhayiwi goto hhavati, like Janaka, whom Y&jnavalkhya exhorts, - 
oMoyam vai Janaka prdpto *n, B]ih. 4. 2. 4. 


Our knowledge is addressed to the external world, but 
there is another way : — 

Outwards the Creator pierced the holes, 
Therefore men look outwards, not inwards ; 
The wise man right within saw the dtman, 
Fastened his gaze on himself, seeking the eternal.^ 

"Fastened his gaze on himself" is literally "turning 
round the eye" — dvrittacakshus} 

Here within us the reality of the &tman becomes an 
immediate certainty : * — 

Nofc Iff i p e wh, not \ff thoughti 

Not I17 dgbt ii he eoippnheiided ; 

""He ill* 17 thk word is Iw eompfelMnded, 

And in no ofclier way. 

^fieiit' tiJuu maj he be apprehended, 

In ao te as he is the eawnoe of both ; 

^He is!* to the man who has thus apprehended him. 

His essential nature becomeB manifest 

The polemic against knowledge grows in intensity. 
Thus in a verse inserted later in Brih. 4. 4. 10 : — 

In dense darkness they move, 
Who bow the knee to ignorance; 
In yet denser they 
Who are satisfied with knowledge. 

This verse is repeated and further amplified in IsS, 9-1 1 
(in dependence on Kena 3) : — 

Other than that to which knowledge leadeth 

Ib that to which leadeth ignorance ! 

Thus have we received the teaching from our forefathers. 

He who recognises both wisdom and ignorance (as insufficient), 
He through both overpasses death and wins immortality. 

With this is connected the demand for the suppression 
of the perceptions of the senses which trick us with a 

^ Kdth. 4. I. • cp. Jacob Buhme's " averted eye." 

8K&th. 6. 12,13. 


false knowledge. As early as Brih. 1. 5. 23 the injunction 
is given : — " Therefore must one vow only be observed ; 
suppressing the activities of the other organs of sense, a 
man must inspire and exspire." ChS.nd. 8. 15 demands that 
a man " reduce all his organs to inactivity in the atman." 
Mundaka 3. 1.8 craves for jfidnafrasaday " cessation 
of knowledge," and in 3. 2. 7 together with works repre- 
sents the vijndnarnaya dtman ^ also as becoming one with 
the supreme eternal. And Maitr. 6. 19 directs that the 
consciousness, together with the subtle body {lihgam) 
that sustains it, should be immersed in the unknown : — 

That which abides in consciousness 

Unknown, beyond conception, wrapped in mystery, 

In that do thou immerse consciousness 

And the lingam, bereft of its foundation. 

All these requirements are part of the Yoga system, of 
which we shall learn to know more later as a Praxis, by 
which it is hoped to effect that metaphysical union witli 
the dtman by artificial means. 

II. The Search for Brahman 
1. The Atman {Brahman) as the Unity 

As early as the times of the Rigveda a perception of 
unity had been reached, to which expression was given 
in hymns like Rigv. I. 164, X. 129. After this, however, 
there remained the further task of defining more closely 
the eternal unity which underlies all the phenomena of 
nature. Of such inquiry the hymn Rigv. X. 121 is the 
chief example, which, to the nine times repeated question, 
" Who is the god to whom we are to offer sacrifice ? " in 
the tenth verse gives the answer : " Prajdpati ! It is thou 
and no other, who boldest in thy embrace all that has 

> Taitt 2. 4. 


come to be." We have already traced in detail ^ how this 

search was prosecuted through the period of the Brah- 

manas, how Prajapati was gradually displaced by Brahman, 

and how finally the most definite expression for the 

object of man's search was found in the conception of 

the &tman. Atman is the Indian expression for that 

I which we are aocnstomed to call " first principle/' and is 

'distinguished from the latter only by its defining in a 

j(iclearer and more striking manner than any Western 

iequivalent the one eternal problem of all philosophical 

■research ; for it invites us to lay hold of the individual 

self of man, the self of the universe, and to strip oflF from 

man and from nature everything which does not approve 

itself as this self, as the peculiar, most profound, and 

ultimate essence of things. At the same time, the less 

definite Brahman is often enough employed to express 

the first principle. This is the case in the passages to be 

discussed immediately, Brih. 2. 1. 1 (Kaush. 4. 1), Brih. 

4. 1. 2-7, Chand. 5. 11. 1. Similarly SVet. 1. 1 opens 

with the question, — " What is the first beginning, what is 

Brahman?" — and according to Pras'na 1. 1 and in the 

Arsheya Upanishad, wise men come together in orcler to 

search for " Brahman." 

The terms Brahman and &tman both denote, there- 
fore, the first principle of the universe, and in this sense 
are ordinarily employed in the Upanishads as synonymous, 
and are interchanged with one another in the same text 
or stand side by side, as in the question proposed in 
Chtod. 5. 11. 1: — ko noi dtmdf kim hrahma? where 
S'ankara remarks that Brahman denotes the term to be 
defined, viseshyam, and atman that which defines it, 
vis'eshanam, (which is true in general, if not precisely so 
here), that by Brahman the limitation implied in fitman 
is removed, and by fitman the conception of Brahman as a 

^ Einleitu7ig und Philosophie des Veda, p. 132 f. 


divinity to be worshipped is condemned. Both expressions 
however are, as this remark already shows, of indefinite con- 
notation. The conception of Brahman is very complex, 
and the conception of the &tman is a negative and relative 
idea, which declares to us rather wherein the essence- of 
man and of the nniverse is not to be sought^ than affprds 
UB any positive information as to its real natora Pre- 
cisely in this its philosophical value consists. For the 
essence of things remains, as far as its nature is concerned, 
eternally unknown ; and every attempt to make it an 
object of knowledge compels us to impose upon it defini- 
tions which are borrowed from that sphere of experimental 
knowledge that alone is accessible to our intelligence, and 
these again do not penetrate to the essential reality of 
things. From this realistic tendency the many false or 
imperfect attempts to explain Brahman and the &tman 
arise, which are rejected by the teachers of the Upanishads 
themselves, and which we have now to discuss. 

2. Bdldkis Attempts at Explanation 

According to a narrative preserved in a twofold 
recension, in Brih. 2. 1 and Kaush. 4, the learned, famous, 
and proud Brfi-hman B&l&ki GArgya approached the king \ 
Aj&tas'atru with the offer : — " Allow me to explain to you 1 
the Brahman." He then endeavours twelve times in suc- 
cessioij (in Kaush. sixteen times) to define the Brahman 
as the soul {purusha) in the sun, moon, lightning, ether, 
wind, fire, water, etc. ; and in each case the king confutes 
his definition by pointing to the subordinate position 
which the corresponding purusha occupies in the whole 
of nature. The Br&hman is silenced, and the king pro- 
ceeds to instruct him, using the illustration of a deep 
sleeper. That in which his vital breaths (prdndh) lie 
dormant, and fix)m which they issue on his waking, and 
with them all worlds, gods, and living creatures, is the 


atman. This is the Brahman that Gargya undertook in 
vain to explain. The readers expectation of a more 
precise account of the relation of Brahman to the purushas 
of G&rgya is not fulfilled in either recension. They both 
are satisfied to show how on waking the pr&nas (speech, 
eye, ear, manas) proceed from the &tman, and as being 
dependent on them all worlds, gods, and living creatures. 

3. Sd1calya!s Attempts at Explanation 

In a similar way, in Brih. 3. 9. 10-17, 26, Vidagdha 
S'&kalya attempts to define Brahman as forming the 
climax of all that the word &tman denotes {sarvasya 
dtmanah pardyariam). After, however, having eight 
times in succession propounded a one-sided view that 
represents the earth, love, forms, ether, etc., as its basis, 
he is corrected by Y&jnavalkhya, who points out to him 
that that which he explains as the climax of all the 
word &tman denotes {sarvasya dtmanah pardyanam 
yam dttha) is, on the contrary, only a subordinate purusha 
that rules in the bodily forms, in love, the sun, sound, etc. 
" He however," Y&jnavalkhya proceeds in Brih. 3. 9. 26, 
"who oversteps these purushas (is superior to them), 
separating them one from another and turning them 
back {i.e. inciting them to activity and recalling them), 
this is the purusha of the Upanishad doctrine concerning 
which I ask thee." S'&kalya is unable to name it, and 
for the error of having passed ofi* a subordinate purusha 
as sarvasya dtmanah pardyariam must atone by his 
death. ^ 

^ This is the meaning of the passage as I propose to assign the dialogue. 
The traditional view, which is less satisfactory, represents Ytljnavalkhya as 
raising the c^uestion with regard to sarvasya dtmanah pardyanam^ and indicat- 
ing as its basis, earth, love, forms, ether, etc. ; and the error of S'&kalya would 
then consist in his naming in answer not the &tman that Y&jiiavalkhya expects 
in answer, but only a subordinate purusha that rules in the bodily forms, in 
love, the sun, sound, etc. 


4. Six Inadequate Definitions 

Precisely as in Brih. 2. 1 twelve defective {ekapdd) ,. 
definitions of Brahman are criticised, in Kaush. 4 sixteen, . 
and in Brih. 3. 9. 10-17 eight, so in Brih. 4. 1 there are 
six ; and here Janaka approaches YAjiiavalkhya after 
ha\dng fortified his soul with mystic doctrines, upani- 
shads, as the traveller provisions his ship or waggon.^ 
These " upanishads " consist in six definitions of Brahman 
enunciated by other teachers, as speech, breath, eye, ear, 
manas, and heart. All these definitions may still be 
found in the extant texts, if not always exactly under 
the names assigned. For instance, for vdg vai hrahma 
see Pancav. Br. 20. 14. 2, Ch&nd. 7. 2. 2 ; for prdno vai 
hrahma, Brih. 1. 5. 23, 3. 7. 1-2, Ch&nd. 4. 3. 3, 7. 15, 
Taitt. 3. 3, Kaush. 2. 1, 2, 2. 13, Pras'na 2. 13 ; cakshur 
vai hrahma, Ch&nd. 1. 7. 4, 4. 15. 1, 8. 7. 4, Kaush. 
4. 17, 18, Brih. 2. 3. 5, 5. 5. 4 ; s'rotram vai hrahma, 
Taitt. 3. 1, Kaush. 4. 14 ; mano vai hrahma, Chtod. 

3. 18. 1, Ait. 3. 2 ; hridayam vai hrahma, Ch&nd. 3. 12. 

4, 8. 3. 3, Brih. 5. 3 ; cp. also in general Ch&nd. 3. 18, 
where vdc', jyrdna, cakshuh, s'rotram form the four feet 
of Brahman, and ChS^nd. 4. 8. 3, where prdna, cakshuh, 
s^rotram, manas are one of his four feet. These and all 
similar definitions, whether they are historical or only in- 
vented to give colour to historical tendencies, arise from the 
endeavour to know that which is essentially unknowable ; 
for which purpose no resource is open but to conceive it 
with conscious or unconscious symbolism under the form 
of some one of its phenomenal appearances. The criticism ' 
to which Y&jiiavalkhya subjects these six definitions of 
Brahman as vdc', prdna, cakshus, s'rotram, manas, and 
hridayam consists in explaining them as mere " supports " 
{dyata7ia), by means of which six corresponding attributes ' 

1 Brih. 4. 2. 1. 


that are assumed to belong to the divine Being as prajna, 
priyamy satyam, ananta, dnanda, sthiti, manifest them- 
selves in the space which is common to all six as basis 
{pratishtha). If, however, we seek to ascertain further 
the nature of these six attributes, we are referred back 
again to their six manifestations in space as vdc\ prdna, 
cakshus^ s'rotram, manas, hridayam. And so, thrown 
backwards and forwards between the phenomenal forms 
of experience, and the empirical attributes of the divine 
Being which find expression in them, we learn that 
phenomena can only be explained by phenomena, and 
that it is not in this way that we can arrive at a know- 
ledge of the nature of the Godhead. Y&jfisyalkhya 
accordingly himself adopts another way,^ aiid, starting 
from the question what becomes of the soul after death, 
first of all sketches a picture of the individual soul as 
it dwells in the heart encompassed and nourished by the 
veins, and extends its feelers, as it were, in the two eyes ; 
then suddenly draws aside, like a veil that hides it, this 
entire individual soul, so that before and around and in 
us we see only the one omnipresent supreme soul. And 
thus the question concerning the future existence of 
^the individual receives its answer in that it is deprived 
of all justification, and falls to the ground meaningless. 
Nor have we even to-day any better reply to give. 

5. Definitions of the Atman Vais'vdnara 

Owing to the ambiguity of the word the conception 
of the &tman, like that of Brahman, gives rise to several 
misunderstandings. One of these was due to the fact 
that beyond the cosmical meaning of the S,tman as first 
principle of the universe there was discerned its 
psychical meaning, the embodiment of this principle in 
the self. It is thus with the five Brfihmans, wlio in 

1 Brih. 4. 2. 


CMnd. 5. 11 meet and propound the question: — "Whatj 
is our Atmaiiy what is Brahman?" They betake them- 
selves with this question to Udd&laka Aruni, who they 
know is even now engaged in studying the Atman 
Vais'vdnara, i.e. the §,tman as the all-pervading first 
principle of the universe. Udd&laka mistrusts (rightly, 
as his later answer proves) his ability to satisfy them, 
and aU six proceed according to king As'vapati Kaikeya 
for instruction concerning the Atman Vais'vdnara, The 
king first asks the six Br&hmans in succession what it is 
that they " worship " as the atman. He assumes, as this 
expression shows, that the Br&hmans who apply to him 
for instruction are still entangled in the error of regarding, 
the &tman as an object of worship existing outside of, 
themselves, like a new kind of divinity. This assumption ' 
is confirmed, inasmuch as the six inquirers explain the 
&tman in succession as the heaven, the sun, the wind, 
space, water, and the earth, therefore as something 
objective. The king rejoins : — " You all, to judge from \, 
your answers, conceive of this Atman Vais'vdnara as i 
though it were something separate from yourselves, and | 
thus you consume your food. He however who worships I 
this Almian Vais'vdnara thus (placing his outstretched 
hand on his head from the forehead to the chin) as a span 
long {prddes'amdtram ahhivimdnam), he consumes the 
food in all worlds, in all beings, in all selves. And of this 
very Atm^an Vais'vdnara (measured on the head as a 
span long) the bright (heaven) is the head, the all- 
pervading (sun) is the eye, the (wind) on its lonely path 
is the breath, manifold (space) is its trunk, its bodily 
frame, riches (water) its bladder, the earth its feet." The 
suggested movement of the hands, without which the 
passage is unintelligible, may with certainty be inferred 
from the original of our text in S'atap. Br. 10. f?. 1, where 
they are actually made. In other respects also the 


original passage referred to possesses several advantages, 
especially in its discussion not of the At man Vais'vdnara , 
\ but of a symbolical interpretation of Agni VaUvdnara, 
' '^ the aH-pervading fire,'' as a first principle of the 
I universe. In this light the defective answers of the six 
interlocutors are far more intelligible than if they inquire, 
in the first instance, as is the case in the secondary re- 
presentation of the ChS,ndogya, concerning the fi,tman as 
" Brahman " (first principle). The question in this form 
and the inquiry for the Atman Vais'vdnara would, strictly 
speaking, exclude from the very beginning such erroneous 
answers as were given by all six Brahmans. 

6. Gradual Instruction of Ndrada 

It is not always opponents or pupils who betray their 
entanglement in incorrect or defective conceptions of 
Brahman. We repeatedly meet with a Brdhman inquirer 

/ who, like Sanatkum&ra in Ch&nd. 7 or Bhrigu in Taitt. 3, 
makes his way through a succession of inadequate con- 
ceptions in order step by step to rise to an ever purer and 
more refined knowledge of the Brahman or &tman. The 
most complete example of this kind is ChS^nd. 7, where 

f Sanatkumara begins his instruction of N&rada by declar- 
ing the whole of the experimental knowledge that he has 
acquired to be mere name. Speech is greater than name, 
manas greater than speech, and in this way the inquirer, 
ever advancing, is led upwards fi:om the conditioned to the 
conditioning, from great to greater by successive stages, 
in which Brahman is apprehended as ndman, vdc\ manas, 
sankalpa, cittam, dhydnam, vijndnam, halam, annam, 
dpas, tejas,dkds'a, smara.dsd up toprdna (the individual 
soul) ; and from this last to bMman, the absolutely " great," 
the " unlimited," beyond which there is nothing, that com- 
prehends all, fills all space, and yet is identical with the 
self-consciousness (aliankdra)^ with the soul (dtman) in 


us. The greatness of this final thought impresses us as 
in strange contrast to the laborious series of conceptions 
by which we ascend to it. It was probably intended for 
more patient readers than are to be found at the close 
of the nineteenth century, and was evidently meant, by 
passing from the visibly great to a still greater, to serve 
the purpose of exciting expectation to the highest pitdi. 
Otherwise, in this transition from name to speech, from 
this to the intellectual faculties (mind, judgement, thought, 
intuition, knowledge), from these through the intermediary 
of force to the four elements (food, water, heat, space), 
and from these through memory and expectation to pr§,na, 
it is impossible, in spite of the rich poetic ornament with 
which these ideas are set forth, to discern a satisfactory 
reason for this progressive advance ; and the question is 
perhaps justified, whether the author himself was entirely 
in earnest, or whether these ideas from name right up to 
prSiia were not all more or less intended to serve as mere 
foil, in order to set in so much clearer light the absolute 
unconditioned and unlimited nature of the &tman, as 
lying above and beyond all thought. It is on other grounds 
remarkable that, in connection with all the members of the 
series that precede pr&na, rich reward is promised to the 
man who '^worships as Brahman'' name, speech, mind, 
etc. The author therefore admits the possibility of 
'' woishippmg as Brahman " all these things, and in the case 
of many of them this may actually take place in a more 
or less consoionsly symbolic manner. For ordinary men, 
lelyiDg on their empirical conscioiisness as thongh on a 
lope, prefer to worship rather than to know. To such an 
end the absolute is naturally only with difficulty or not 
at all adapted. The use of symbols therefore for its 
expression is inevitable, and these in the hands of the 
mnltitade very readily become idols. The manner also is 
remarkable in which our author passes from prdna, the 


individual soul, for which the distinction of subject and 
object still exists, to hhUman^ the supreme soul, for which 
these like all distinctions have no meaning. We seek, 
he says, the truth. This depends on knowledge, this 
again on thought, this on faith, this on self-concentration, 
this on productive power, this on pleasure {sukham, 
more usually dnanda, the so-called bliss), which exists in 
the unlimited, the hhdman. Gradually, therefore, from 
the sphere of the intellectual in which diflferences obtain, 
we are led upwards through an ever-increasing blending 
of subject and object to a region in which all distinctions 
are lost in the All-one. 

7. Three Different Atmans 

The &tman is, as has often already been pointed out, 
an idea capable of very different interpretations. The 
word signifies no more than " the self," and the question 
then arises what we regard as our self. Three positions 
^ are here possible, according as by the &tman is understood 
(1) the ooiporeal sd^ the body ; (2) the indiyidnal soul, 
free £ram the body, which as knowing subject is contrasted 
with and distinct from the objeot ; or (3) the supreme soul, 
in whidi subject and object are no longer distinguished 
from one another, or which, according to the. Indian con- 
ception, is the objectless knowing subject. The narrative 
in Ch&nd. 8. 7-12 furnishes an illustration of these three 
positions. **The self (d^man), the sinless, free from old 
age, from death, and from suffering, delivered from hunger 
and thirst, whose wish is true, whose decree is true, that 
ought we to seek, that endeavour to know." Impelled by 
this craving, the god Indra and the demon Virocana set 
off, and betake themselves to Praj&pati for instruction. 
His first lesson is as follows : — ^The self is that which is 
seen in looking into the eye of another, into a brook of 
water or a mirror, which is reflected again in an image 


complete even to hairs and nails, which decked with fair \ 
clothing appears fair, in a word, the body ; " that is the 1 
self, that is the immortal, the fearless, that is Brahman." 
The answer satisfies both pupils, and they depart home- 
wards ; but Praj&pati looking after them says : — " So they i 
depart, without having perceived or discovered the self." j 
Virocana and the demons rest content with this answer, I 
and therefore all demon-like men, seeing the self in the 
body, deck the human frame with all kinds of finery, as 
though it were destined for a future life, a world beyond. 
Indra, on the contrary, reflecting that this self is exposed 
to all the sufferings and imperfections of the body, and 
perishes at death, feels (what everyone may feel) that no 
change which passes over us can affect us^ and returns to 
Praj&patL Praj&pati now communicates to him the second 
answer : — the self is that which roams about untrammelled 
in dreams ; " that is the immortal, the fearless, that is 
Brahman/' But even with this answer Indra cannot 
remain satisfied. The dream-self is not, it is true, affected 
by the injuries which the body experiences from objects, 
but yet it is virtually affected by them, seeing that it 
proceeds to create an objective world over-against itself. 
The third answer of Praj&pati now follows : — " When a 
man is so completely wrapped in slumber, has reached so 
perfect a rest, that he does not perceive any dream-image, 
— that is the self," thus he spake, " that is the immortal, 
the fearless, that is Brahman." A further objection on 
the part of Indra, that this amounts to entrance into a 
state of .annihilation, Prajapati removes by showing that 
the cessation of the distinction of subject and object, as . 
this is attained in deep sleep, is rather an entrance into 
the fullest light, a personal identification with the supreme 
spirit, which as the knowing subject in us is unaffected by 
any change of organs or objects. The meaning of this nar- 
rative is clear. In response to the question. What is the 


self? three answers are possible, according as we adopt the 
standpoint of matojalig^. i^^^Htn^ r^f i^fM^l^am ^i^ The 

material (demoniac) answer runs, — the self is the body, 
and perishes with it. The theologians of the Vedanta 
understand even here the individual soul, and do violence 
to the text by transforming the man who ** is seen " in the 
eye (mirroring himself) into one who " sees " in the eye, 
because otherwise Praj^pati " would have been a deceiver," 
since he says in fact even of this first self, — " that is the 
immortal," etc. Praj&pati, however, is here the represent- 
ative of nature, which never speaks falsely, and yet shows 
itself in a certain sense double-faced, inasmuch as to the 
two most important questions which we can put, the 
question concerning freedom and the question concerning 
inmiortality, it gives to the ordinary empirical conscious- 
ness two answers, which appear to be in contradiction with 
one another. If we regard our actions, we see that they 
all necessarily proceed from their causes (character and 
motive) in harmony with the law of causality ; and yet 
we bear within ourselves the invincible indestructible 
consciousness of freedom and responsibility for these 
actions. Similarly with the question of immortality. If we 
look without, we see our entire self entering into existence 
as body and perishing ; and yet we are invincibly conscious 
within of the eternity of our being: sentimus expert- 
murque nos aetemos esse, as Spinoza says. It is on this 
consciousness, and not on personal longings, that all proofs 
of the immortality of the soul depend. This consciousness 
it is which, clothed in empirical forms, {^ from the realistic 
standpoint exhibits the self as the individual soul, and to 
this the second answer of Prajftpati refers. Very beauti- 
ful is his illustration of this consciousness of a soul, free 
from the body and yet real and individual, by means of 
the dream-state, as being the only state of which we have 
experience, in which the soul may be observed bound by 


corporeal conditions but not under the limitations of 
individuality. This entire individual soul, however, is a\ 
false conception arising from the fact that we transfer the' 
forms of our intellectual judgements, and especially the; 
most general of them, the necessary existence of an object 
for a subject, into a region where they have no validity. 
From this point consciousness leads on (8) to the idealistic ^ 
standpoint, which recognises only the one supreme soul, ■ 
existing in everything, and embodied in each in its 
entirety. In it there is no duality, no subject and object, 
and consequently no consciousness in an empirical sense. 
Thus far it may be compared to a deep dreamless sleep. 
Later on we shall learn to recognise besides waking 
slumber and deep sleep a fourth (turtya) state of the soul, 
in whioli tliftt rniififla-tiAn^ which ensues unconsciously in 
deep sleflj^ » to be realised in a oonsciousness which is ' 
perfeofr tboDi^ not xestdng upon e2perienoe» pr directed 
towards objeote eztenial to itself. 

8. Five different Atmans 

As in the passage from the Ch&ndogya discussed 
above three fitmans are distinguished, the corporeal 
individual and supreme, so a paragraph in Taitt. 2, which 
occupies a more advanced and developed position, assumes 
five ^tm»as (or purushas) by further division of the 
intermediate individual &tman into the principles of life, 
of will, and of knowledge. Thus are constituted the 
atmans annamaya^ prdnamaya, manomaya^ vijndna- 
maya, and dnandamaya^ which are manifested alike 
in mankind and in nature as a whole. The first four of 
these, like sheaths or husks (termed later kosas), surround 
the fifth as the true kernel. Stripping off these sheaths 
one by one, and gradually penetrating deeper, we finally 
reach the inmost essential being of a man and of nature. 
(1) The annamaya dtman, **the self dependent on food," | 


is the incarnation of the Sitman in the human body and in 
material nature; the bodily organs are its constituent 
parts. (2) Within this is contained the prdnamaya 
dtman, "the self dependent on the vital breath/' the 
4tman as the principle of natural life. Its constituent 
parts are the vital breaths in man (inhalation, inter- 
halation, exhalation), but also in a cosmical sense the 
whole of space is its body, the earth its foundation. By 
stripping off this &tman also as a sheath we reach (3) the 
manomaya dtman, "the &tman dependent on manas" 
(volition), whose constituent parts are stated to be the 
four Vedas with the Br4hmanas (ddes'a). According to 
this definition we are to understand by it the principle of 
the will [manas) embodied both in men and in gods, i.e. 
of purpose directed to selfish ends. For it is this that on 
the human side is expressed in the Vedic sacrificial ritual. 

(4) Deeper still is found the vijndnamaya dtman, "the 
self dependent on knowledge," which, as the accompanying 
verse declares, offers knowledge in place of sacrifice and 
works, while recognising and worshipping the deity as a 
separate and independent being. This position also we 
must abandon like a sheath, in order finally to penetrate 

(5) to the dnanda/maya dtman^ "the self dependent on 
t bliss," as the innermost kernel of man and of nature as a 

whole. This §,tman dependent on bliss, "before whom 
words and thought recoil, not finding him," is no longer 
an object of knowledge. It is, in contrast with the reality 
of experience, that which lies beyond on the other side, 
unutterable, unfathomable, an unconsciousness, a not- 
reality. "For it is he who creates bliss. For when a 
man finds resting-place and peace in that invisible, 
unreal, unutterable, unfathomable one, then has he 
attained to peace. When, however, a man assumes 
therein an interval, a separation (between himself as 
subject and the atman as object), then his unrest is 


prolonged. Moreover, it is the unrest of one who 
deems himself wise (while making Brahman an object 
of knowledge)."^ 

III. Symbolic Representations of Brahman 

1. Introduction and Classification 

By a symbol {cvtifiokov) the ancient writers under- 
stood the visible sign of an invisible object or circumstance. 
The word itself may be derived from the piecing together 
(<n;/i)9a\X€£i/) of a broken ring or the like carried by guests, 
messengers, etc., as their authorisation, to the other half 
that has been laid by, or simply from the mutual under- 
standing {cv^^dXKeiv) on which the recognition of this 
visible token depended. An illustration lying very near 
to hand for the conception of a symbol is furnished by 
the words which language uses. These are to be regarded 
collectively as the visible signs of the invisible ideas 
which they represent, and therefore Aristotle pertinently 
remarks : — r&v Sk ovofidrtop iiccurrov av^ifioXov iariv : * and 
eari fiev oip ra ev rfj ^oDvfj r&v iv t§ ^^^XV ^^^^M^tcoj' 
avfifidka, Kol rh f^pa^ofuva r&v iv r^ <f>(ov§,^ So also the 
Church calls its sacraments and doctrinal formulsD symbols. 
They are the external tokens of adhesion to its fellowship. 

The Indian word for symbol, pratikam, depends upon 
a similar conception. It denotes originally (from prati- 
anc) the side " turned towards " us, and therefore visible, 
of an object in other respects invisible. In this sense the 
teachers of the Ved&nta often speak of symbols {pratikdni) 
of Brahman. They understand by the term definite 
representations of Brahman under some form perceptible 
by the senses, e.g. as name, speech, etc.,* as manas and 

1 Taitt. 2. 7. » De Sensu I. p. 437. 

» De Interp. I. p. 16. * Chftnd. 7. 


dkdsa^ as dditya^ as the fire of digestion,* or even as om,^ 
which for the purpose of worship are regarded as Brahman, 
and are related to the latter as the images of the gods 
(pratimdy area) to the gods that they represent.* As 
1 early as Badar&yana® the distinction is drawn between 
the worshippers of Brahman under such symbols and 
the worshippers of Brahman " endowed with attributes " 
(saguTia). The latter possess a knowledge of Brahman, 
and pass accordingly by the devaydna, which leads to 
Brahman ; while the worshippers of the symbol are by 
it hindered from discerning Brahman,^ and hence they 
receive as fruit only the reward specified for each symbol.® 
In the sequel this distinction is not consistently main- 
, tained. The worship of Brahman by means of the syllable 
om leads, according to Pras'na 5. 5, by the devaydna to 
Brahman, and the worship of Brahman as pr§,na is usually 
assigned to that branch of knowledge which concerns itself 
with qualities, and only exceptionally • to the symbolical 
worships, to which, nevertheless, it belongs according to 
passages like Brih. 4. 1. 3 {prdna by the side of vdc'y 
manas, etc.), 2. 3. 4 (with dkdsa), Ch&nd. 3. 18. 4 (sub- 
ordinated to manaSy by the side of vdc\ etc.). 

Nevertheless the definite conception of the symbol is 
wanting in the Upanishads, just as the word prattkam in 
this sense is not there found. When, however, in the^ 
extracts discussed in the preceding chapter ^^ certain 
concrete representations of Brahman are rejected as 
inadequate, though they are acknowledged to be 

1 Chand. 3. 18. « Chand. 3. 19. 

8 Brih. 6. 9, Ch&nd. 3. 13. 8. * Ch&nd. 1. 1. 

» cp. S'ankara on BrahmasAtra, pp. 147. 14, 189. 8, 217. 10, 835. 9, 1059. 6 ; 
on CMndogya, pp. 9. 8, 10. I, 21. 3. 
« Stltram 4. 3. 16-16, cp. 4. 1. 4. 
^ P. 1135. 7, pratika-pradhdnatvdd updsamuya, 
« E,g. Ch&nd. 7. 1-14. 
® E,g, on Brabmastltra 4. 1, 5. 
i» Brill. 4. 1; CMnd. 5. 12-17, 7. 1-14. 


meritorious, as is shown by the promise of a reward, we 
are able, as is the case with so many doctrines of the later 
VedSnta, to trace in passages like those quoted the earliest 
rise of the conception of the symbol. 

By symbol in a wider sense we understand all the 
representations conceived with a view to the worship of 
Brahman, himself incapable of representation, under some 
one of his phenomenal forms ; and therefore especially as 
'prdna and v&yu^ as akasay manas, and dditya^ as the fire 
of digestion and the syllable om. To the discussion of 
these symbols in the present chapter must further be 
added the symbolical interpretations of ritualistic con- 
ceptions, and finally the substitution for liturgical practices 
of others which are related to the fi,tman doctrine. 

2. Brahman as Prdna and Vdyu 

No natural phenomenon bears so ambiguous a 
character, none appears to be derived so immediately 
from the most intimate essence of things and so fully to 
reveal it, as the phenomenon of life, manifested in the! 
activity of all the vital organs (prd7ias\ but above all in 
the process of breathing {jprdna) which determines the 
life itself. Hence as early as the Br&hmana period the 
central significance of prana (breath or life) was discussed 
together with its superiority to the other prdnas (vital 
forces, as the eye, ear, speech, manas), and its identity 
with Vdyu, the god of the wind as the vital breath of 
the universe, was discussed. All these discussions are 
continued in the Upanishads, especially in the older texts, 
which yet are unable to apprehend the fii-st principle of the 
universe otherwise than in its most obvious phenomenal 
forms ; until the pr&na, whether by a process of subordina- 
tion or identification, retires more and more behind the 
atman, and appears only as an occasional synonym for it. 

That the body of all (organic) beings can be sustained 


only as long as the prdria inhabits it, is taught in a 
passage frequently misunderstood, Chand. 1. 11. 5 : — 
sarvdni ha v6! imdni hhHtdni prdrmm eva abhisamvisanti^ 
prdnam ahhyujjihate. This does not mean, as Sankara 
and many with him explain it, that beings enter (at 
death) into prdruiy and are thence born anew, but rather 
the contrary : — " All these creatures enter with the breath 
(into the body), and with the breath they again depart 
out." The best illustration is furnished by the metaphor 
iPrasna 2. 4, which contains possibly a reminiscence of 
our passage, and by Brahma Upanishad 1, which is 
dependent upon it. The illustration is employed, it is 
true, not of living beings, but of the individual organs 
in their relation to the pmna. "Just as the bees all 
follow the queen bee when she comes forth, and so long as 
she tarries aU tarry, so also speech, manas, eye, and ear." 
The prS^na is the fundamental and constant part of the 
sixteen of which man consists. In Brih. 1. 5. 14 this 
is illustrated in mythological language by the example 
of PrajS,pati, who loses a sixteenth part each night with 
I the waning of the moon : — " And after that at new moon 
, he has entered with the sixteenth part into everything 
I which has breath, thereupon is he born on the following 
morning (as the crescent of the new moon)." Here 
Prajapati, after the loss of his fifteen changeable parts, 
continues to exist at the new moon with his sixteenth 
" unchangeable " (dhruva) part solely as prdna in all 
living beings. From a physiological point of view this 
thought is explained in Chtod. 6. 7 ; man consists of 
I sixteen parts, of which after a fifteen days' fast only one, 
' the prana, survives. An enumeration of these sixteen 
parts is undertaken in Prasna 6. 3-4 : — " He (purushu) 
reflected, * With the departure of what shall I myself 
depart, and with the remaining of what shall I remain ? ' 
Accordingly he created the prana " ; from which, as the 


passage goes on to declare, the fifteen other parts 
originate. Here, in harmony with the later date of the 
composition, the pr&na is dependent on the purusha, i.e. 
the &tman, but is still at the same time its empirical 
representative. As such, as the bhUman brought within 
the circle of experience (in the distinction of subject and 
object), the prana makes its appearance already in the 
beautiful description of Chfind. 7. 15: — "As the spokes 
are inserted into the nave of the wheel, so everything is 
inserted into this life (prdna). The life advances by the 
life (the breath), the life (breath) gives the life, it becomes 
the life. The life is father and mother, the life is brother 
and sister, the life is teacher and Brahman, Therefore 
if a father or mother or brother or sister or teacher or 
Brahman is used roughly, men say of you, Fie, you are 
a parricide, a matricide, a murderer of brother or sister, 
of teacher or Br&hman, Should he, however, strike even 
these with a spear, after the life has departed (on the 
funeral pyre) and they are burnt to the last hair, then it is 
not said, * You are a parricide, a matricide, a murderer 
of brother or sister, of teacher or Br&hman ' ; for the life 
only is all this." The comparison that occurs here of the 
prana to the nave of a wheel, in which all the spokes 
meet, is found again : (l) of the prana, in Prasna 2. 6, in 
the hymn to the pr&na here inserted, though derived from 
an earlier period, and which recalls not only Vaj. Samh. 
34. 5, but also in many ways Atharvav. 11. 4; (2) of 
the pr&na, which is already identified in the second 
place with Prajn§,tman in Kaush. 3. 8 (for which is 
substituted, in Kaush. 4. 20, the figure of the chieftain 
and his people); (3) of the Titman, in Brih. 2. 5. 15, cp. 
1. 5. 15 Mund. 2. 2. 6 Prasna 6. 6, and interpreted in 
S'vet. 1. 4, in terms of Sankhyan thought. 

The superiority of the prana to the otlicr vital 
organs (eye, ear, speech, manas, etc.) is illustrated by the 



parable of the rivalry of the organs, which forms a favourite 
theme of the Upanishads. In order to test which of them 
is the most essential, the pr&nas (eye, ear, speech, etc.) 
one after another leave the body, which nevertheless still 
continues to exist; but when the prana proposes to 
depart, they become conscious that none of them can 
exist without it. This narrative, known by the name 
of pranosamvoc^a, is found in Ch§,nd 5. 1. 6-12, Brih. 6. 

1. 7-13, Kaush. 2. 14, cp. 3. 3, Ait. Ar. 2. 1. 4, Pras'na 

2. 2-4,^ The most original form is preserved unquestion- 
ably in Ch&nd. 5.. 1. 6-12. The vital organs (only speech, 
eye, ear, and manas are mentioned besides prana) come to 
Praj&pati, contending for precedence. His decision is 
given : — " That one amongst you, after whose departure 
the body finds itself in the worst condition, has the 
precedence among you." Thereupon in succession speech, 
eye, ear, and manas depart, without the body on that 
account ceasing to exist. " Thereupon the pr&na proposed 
to go forth ; but as a noble steed (if he breaks loose) tears 
away the foot-ropes that hold fast his feet, so he tore 
away with him the other vital breaths. Then they all 
came to him and said : — * Worthy sir, thou art he ; thou 
hast the precedence over us, only go not forth.' " Brih. 6 

\l, 7-13 relates the story almost in the same words, but 
with the substitution of Brahman for Praj&pati, the 
addition of a sixth organ, and the further elaboration of 
the illustration of the steed. All these variations are in 
favour of the originality of the version of the ChSudogya. 
Kaush. 3. 3 supplies only an argument which assumes 
the narrative in the form indicated. Kaush. 2. 14 
represents all the organs as going forth together, but 
returning separately ; on the return of the pr&na the 
body revives. Here the motive for the united departure 

^ A further recension, according to Weber's statement, occurs in Kaush. 
Ar. 9. On Bpih. 1. 6. 21, cp. also it^ra. 


is wanting. Ait. Ar. 2. 1. 4 twice brings to a settlement 
the question which of the prdnas is uktham, by the 
collapse of the body on the departure of the prana, and 
again by its revival when the pr&na returns. In this 
case an inferior impression is created both by the 
doubling of the proof of superiority, and by the applica- 
tion of the story to the glorification of the uktham. 
Prasna 2. 2-4 represents the pr&na indignant at the 
behaviour of the others preparing forthwith to depart, 
whereupon speech, manas, eye, and ear are carried away 
with it, and beg the pr&na to remain. This is clearly an 
abbreviated form of the original narrative ; what is new 
is only the substitution of the illustration of the queen 
bee for that of the steed. These relations are of interest, 
since they supply a foundation for the chronology of the 
corresponding texts. 

Connected with this narrative of the dispute of the 
organs for precedence is another of the strife of the gods, 
i.e. the organs, against the demons. We limit ourselves 
to a comparison of the two chief recensions, Byih. 1. 3 
and Ch&nd. 1. 2.^ Of these two, Brih. 1. 3 is unquestion- 
ably the more original. In order to vanquish the demons 
the gods, i.e. the organs, speech, smell, eye, ear, manas, and 
pr&na, instruct one of their number to sing the udgitha. 
Speech essays the task, but while singing is overcome 
with evil by the demons. A similar fate overtakes in 
succession smell, eye, ear, and manas. Finally pr&nai 
undertakes it, and the assailing demons are scattere4 
before him like a clod of earth when it falls on a stone^ 
Thereupon prSna leads the others away beyond the reach 
of evil and death, whereby speech goes to Agni, smell to 
Vayu, the 'eye to Aditya, the ear to the heavenly regions, 
the manas to the moon. All these deities then, in order 

^ Other discuesions of the same theme wiU be found in Talav. Up. Br. 1. 
60,2. 1-2,2.3,2. 10-11. 


to enjoy food, enter again as speech, smell, eye, ear, and 
manas into the prana. The same idea is found in Ait. 
1-2, adapted to the conception of the purusha ag_^the 
primeval., man. To these legends Brih. 1. 3. 19 attaches 
a glorification of the pr&na as Aydsya Angirasay as 
Brihaspati and Brahmanaspatiy as Sdman and even as 
Udgiiha. Previously he sang the udgttha, now he is 
the udgttha. It is quite clear that we have here an 
amalgamation of two texts originating from different 
points of view. We now understand the strange version 
of our story in Chand. 1. 2, where the gods in their 
strife against the demons approach the individual organs, 
not for the purpose of securing that the udgitha shall be 
sung by them, but in order to worship them as udgttha. 
The author of this section found the story of the strife 
followed already (just as is the case still in the Brihad.) by 
a worship of the pr&na as udgitha. Both pieces, though 
radically different, and only by accident standing side by 
side, were blended into one whole, whereby the narrative 
entirely lost its original character.^ 

The last-quoted legend suggests already that the 
prS,na is not merely a psychical but also a cosmical 
principle, that it is not only the breath of life in 
men, but also the universal breath of life which prevails 
throughout the whole of nature. This transition is very 
natural. Among the most diverse peoples, from the 
purusha of the hymn Rigv. X. 90 to the giant Ymir of 
the Edda, we meet with the tendency to regard man- 
kind as a microcosm, and vice versd the universe as a 
makranthropos. This thought depends, in the first 
instance, upon the fact that that which is manifested in 
nature as a whole, with all its phenomena, finds its most 
definite and complete expression in man. But in detail 
also the human organism enters into manifold relations 

* See further, Deusscn, Upan.f p. 66 ff. 


with the external world. By means of its various organs 
and functions it extends itself, as it were, over-against 
the surrounding phenomena of nature, and accommodates 
itself to them. The organs of nutrition correspond to 
the constitution of food, the breathing organs to the 
atmosphere ; the structure of the feet corresponds to the 
earth, upon which they will have to move ; and in the 
curvature of the head the vaulting of the heaven seems 
to be reproduced.^ 

It is perhaps due to considerations of this nature that 
as early as the hymn of the purusha,* describing the 
transformation of the primeval man into the universe, his 
head becomes the heaven, his navel the atmosphere, his feet 
the earth, his eye the sun, his manas the moon, his mouth 
Indra and Agni (fire), his ears the heavenly regions, and 
his pr3,na the wind. In general, precisely as we were led 
to recognise in prS,na the central organ of life, as ex- 
plained above, so that which corresponds to it in the 
universe, the wind, must become the vital principle of 
nature, whether we regard it merely as the prana that 
pervades the whole universe, as in the hymns elsewhere 
quoted,'* or contrast vdyu and prdna as cosmical and 
psychical analogies, as is the case in the following 

In Brih. 1. 5. 21-23 the narrative of the rivalry of 
the organs appears in a new form, in so far as side by side 
with the psydiical organs, speech, eye, ear, and prana, ' 
their cosmical equivalents also, fire, sun, moon, and vayu, 
come forward in mutual rivalry. Since these last cannot 
be said to depart from the body, this feature of the 
narrative is necessarily omitted, and there is substituted 
for it in the case of the psychical organs exhaustion, in 
the case of the cosmical a temporary entrance into repose. 

icp. Plat. Tim. 44 D. 2 Rigv. X. 90. 13-14. 

• Atharvav. 11. 4 and Pras'iia 2. 5-13 ; cp. Deusaen, Upari., p. 06:i. 


Only prana and v&yu do not become exhausted ; accord- 
ingly the others take refuge in them, and at the close 
it is said that the sun rises and sets in the (cosmical) 
prana. A similar conception lies at the foundation of the 
magnifying of the wind in Brih. 3. 3. 2 : — " The wind 
therefore is the particular {uyashti\ and the universal 
{samdshtiy In another version of the same narrative, 
Brih. 3. 7, the wind (cosmical aijd psychical) is celebrated 
as the thread of the universe {sAtram) which holds together 
all beings: — "By the wind as thread, Gautama, this world 
and the other world and all creatures are bound together. 
For this very reason, Gautama, it is said of a dead man, 
* his limbs have been relaxed ' ; for by the wind as thread, 
Gautama, were they bound together."^ Just as the 
pr&na binds things together from without, so, as is ex- 
plained in the following words of Brih. 3. 7. 3-23, the 
Antarydmin (inner guide), i.e. the dtman, rules them from 
within. The connecting together pr&na and antary&min 
is part of the attempt, thus early made, to advance from 
the symbolical method to that of abstract conception, of 
which more will later be said. 

Since it has been already shown in Ait. Br. 8. 28 in the 
brahmanah parimarah, the " dying (of the foes) around 
the magic spell (uttered by the king)," how the natural 
phenomena, lightning, rain, sun, moon, and fire, become 
extinct in the wind and emerge from it again, Kaush. 2. 
12-13 proceeds to teach the daivah parimarah, the 
" dying of the gods around (the pr&na)." The cosmical 
divinities (fire, sun, moon, lightning), and the correspond- 
ing psychical divinities (speech, eye, ear, manas) do not 
die, when their brahman (here, their phenomenal form) 
vanishes ; tlieir brightness only they deliver over to other 
gods, while they themselves with their pr&na enter, the 
cosmical into v&yu, the psychical into prtoa, which in 

1 Brih. 3. 7. a. 


essence are one : — " All these divinities therefore enter 
into the pr&na, and die in the pr&na ; they are not, how- 
ever, lost when they enter in, but arise again from him." 
Here vdyu-prdria appears as the true first principle of 
the universe, while the " brahman " is to be interpreted as / 
only its manifestation in natural phenomena, and there- j 
fore is apparently subordinated to the pr&na. 

The entrance of all the gods of nature into v&yu, and 
of all the gods of the senses into the pr&na which is 
identical with it, is also the theme of a discussion which 
is frequently met with, but occurs in its best and probably 
most original form in S'atap. Br. X. 3. 3. 5-8. There in- 
quiry is made for " the fire, which is this universe," and 
the answer is given, — " In truth, the pr&na (breath, life) 
is this fire. For when a man sleeps, his speech enters 
into the pr&na, the eye enters into the pr&na, the manas 
enters into the prSna, the ear enters into the pr&na ; and 
when he awakes, from the pr&na are they reborn. Thus 
far in relation to the self. Next in relation to the gods. 
In truth, Agni is that which this speech is here, yonder 
Aditya is this eye, yonder moon this manas, and the 
heavenly regions this ear. But yonder v&yu (wind), 
which purifies there as it blows, is this pr&na (breath). 
When now the fire (agni) is extinguished, it is blown out 
in the wind ; therefore we say, it has been blown out, for 
it is blown out in the wind. And when the sun (Aditya) 
sets, it enters into the wind ; and similarly the moon and 
the heavenly regions are dependent on the wind ; and 
from the wind they are reborn. He therefore who 
departs from this world knowing this enters with his 
speech into the fire, with his eye into the sun, with his 
manas into the moon, with his ear into the heavenly 
regions, with his pr&na into v&yu ; for from them he has 
arisen, and from these divinities, whom he ever loves, 
united to them he finds rest." This speculation was later 


on associated with the legend of S'aunaka and AbhipratS,rin, 
who during a meal were importuned by a hrahmacdrin, 
who proposed to them a riddle on this subject. In 
this form, which is apparently no longer preserved, the 
narrative became again the groundwork of Talav. Up. Br. 
3. 1-2, where the text is further elaborated and ex- 
pounded, and also of ChS.nd. 4. 2-3, which seems to be 
more faithful to the original form. The whole discussion, 
however, together with the legend, is comprised within 
a second legend, while (quite incongruously) both the 
discussion and the story of the beggar student are put 
into the mouth of Raikva as he gives instruction to 

Conceptions such as those referred to account for the 
fact that in the Upanishads we frequently meet with the 
explanation that Brahman, whose nature it is sought to 
ascertain, is the pr&na, the breath of life that pervades 
both the universe and the human body. This is the case 
' in the definitipn_of Brih. 4. 1. 3, judged by Y&ifiavalkhya 
I to be inadequate, jt>rano vai hrahma ; or Brih. 5. 13, where 
j uktham, yajus, sdman, and kshatram {i.e. probably the 
j four Vedas, as the sum of all that was originally denoted 
by brahman) are explained as the pr&na. We shall meet 
later on with other passages of this character, in which 
the pr§,na is recognised as a first principle, but imme- 
diately set aside, as for instance Ch&nd. 4. 10. dyprdno 
hrahma, ham hrahma, kham hrahma ; and we propose 
/ to cite here two more passages only, Kaush. 2. 1 and 2. 2, 
in which a beginning seems to be made towards such a 
superseding of prana. Both passages, the one on the 
authority of the Kaushitaki, the other on that of the 
Paingya, explain the prana as brahman. Both draw 
thence the inference that he who knows himself as the 
prana that fills all things does not need to beg for food 

*cp. Deuflsen, Upan,y pp. 117-120. 


{na ydc'et is his " upanishad "), since he enjoys nourish- 
ment in all beings. According to the first passage, speech, 
eye, ear, and manas are the servants of pr&na ; according 
to the second, they encompass it, speech around the eye, 
this again around the ear, this around the manas, and this 
around the prS,na. But of the last also it is said. He is 
set around {arundhate). Around what is not stated. 
But in this may be found the first intimation of the great 
truth formulated in Taitt. 2. 2, that the prdriamaya 
dtman also is not the kernel, but only the innermost 

3. Other Symbols of Brahman 

The two most important types besides the pr&na 
under which Brahman is to be worshipped appear to be 
manas and dkdsa. The principal relevant passage is 
Ch&ndogya 3.. 18 : — "The manas is to be worshipped as 
Brahman ; thus far in relation to the self. Next in 
relation to the godhead ; the &k&s'a (ether, space) is (to be 
worshipped) as Brahman. Thereby both are taught, that 
in relation to the self, and this in relation to the godhead." 
It is further expounded how Brahman as manas has as his 
four feet the cosmical organs, speech, breath, eye, ear, and \ 
similarly as &k&s'a the cosmical gods, fire, wind, sun, and i 
the heavenly regions. A passing attempt to elevate the 
manas (the will) into a universal principle has been else- 
where cited.^ Unfortunately the attempt is not carried any 
further, but the manas is allowed to remain a mere symbol 
of Brahman. Besides our passage, Ch&nd. 7. 3 may be 
quoted, where the manas occurs as the third of the 
symbols there enumerated, beyond which there is a still' 
higher ; and Brih. 4. 1. 6, where the upanishad mano van 
brahma is attributed to SatyakS,ma (inconsistently witliA 

^ EinUitung und Philosophie des Veda, p. 206 ; for an estimate of this 
conception we refer to the discussion there. 


the instruction give^ to him in Ch&nd. 4. 9. 3), and is 
regarded as inadequate. By the side of the manas the 
passage quoted above names the &k&s'a (ether, space; 
strictly speaking, space conceived as a material element) 
as a symbol of Brahman (for an alternative and parallel 
explanation of it as Brahman can only be intended 
to be understood symbolically), no doubt on account 
of the onmipresence of space; just as a passage 
often quoted by S'ankara but not yet identified says of 
Brahman that he is dkds'avat sarvagatac' ca nityah 
" omnipresent like space, eternal," and Newton designated 
space the sensorium of God, while Kant a century later 
showed the god, whose sensorium space is, to be the 
intellect {manas) in our inner self. In older texts of 
the Upanishads, dkds'a (space) is frequently explained to 
1 be Brahman, without any clear consciousness that this 
i representation is merely symbolical. Ch&nd . 1. 9. 1 : — 
I " It is the &kfis'a, out of which all these creatures proceed, 
/ and into which they are again received, the &k&s'a is 
older than they all, the &k&s'a is the ultimate end." 
B&dar&yana is right in asserting ^ that by the &k&s'a here 
Brahman is to be understood, " because his characteristics " 
are found. So also in Brih. 5. 1. 1, in an appendix contain- 
ing much that is old : — '' Om I thd iiBiMBaiit is BmhittAfi, 
the pomeyal^ air-filled finDameat" And again probably 
in Ch&nd. 3. 12. 7-9: — "This so-called Brahman is the 
same as yonder space without man; and yonder space 
without man is the same as this space within man ; and 
this space within man is the same as this space within 
the heart. That is the perfect, the immutable." It was 
soon, however, felt that the representation of Brahman as 
' llkfisa could only be tolerated in a symbolical sense. 
G&rgya, in Brih. 2. 1. 5,* explains the spirit in space as 
Brahman, and the answer is given (obviously directed 

1 Stltr. 1. 1. 22, dkds'oB tal-lingdt, * cp. Kaush. 4. 8. 


against the passage from Ch3.nd. 3. 12. 9 just cited), that 
it is only " the full, the immutable." In Chand. 4. 10. 5 
Mi am (spa ce) is playfully identified with ham ( = dnanda, 
bBss). In Chand. 3. 18. 1, ftkas'a is, as we saw, only in 
a symbolical sense together with manas admitted as 
Brahman as an object of worship. Thus in Ch&nd. 7. 12 
the &kas'a appears as a mere symbol, beyond which there 
is a greater; and in Ch^nd. 8. 1. 1, characteristically 
diverging from the above quoted passage Ch&nd. 3. 12. 
7-9, it is no longer a question of regarding space in the 
universe as Brahman, or space in the heart, but that which 
is within this space {tasmin yad antar). We are unable 
therefore to agree with BS.dar&yana when, in the student's 
benediction Chand. 8. 14, he proposes to understand Brah- 
man by the &kas'a. The meaning rather is, perhaps in- 
tentionally, directed against such an interpretation : — The 
4kSs'a is that (only) which holds asunder name and form ; 
that which is in these two {te yad antard), that is Brahman, 
that is the immortal, that is the atman. That is to say, 
Brahman has been expanded into names and forms, 
according to ChS,nd. 6. 3. 3. The most decided polemic 
however against a confusion of akds'a and Brahman is in 
Byih. 3. 7_. 12: — "He who, dwelling in the fikasa, is 
distinct firom S-k&s'a, whom the ftkfis'a knows not, whose 
body the &k&s'a is, who rules the &kas'a from within, he is 
thy soul, the inner guide, the immortal." ^ 

As early as the period preceding the Upanishads we 
were able to discern a series of attempts to regard the first 
principle of the universe as inherent in the sun, but at I 
the same time by means of metaphorical interpl'etations to : 
advance beyond this conception as being merely symbolical. 
These attempts were continued in the Upanishads. In 
KausL 2. 7 a ceremony is taught, which by means of a worship 
of the rising mid-day and setting sun delivers from all sin 

1 cp. also Brih. 3. 8. 11, 4 4. 17, 20. 


committed by day or by night. CU^iid^. 19. 1 enjoins in 
addition the worship of the sun as Brahman ; and that this 
representation is merely symbolic appears from what follows, 
where the sun is regarded not as the original creative 
principle, but, falling back upon representations discussed 
elsewhere,^ as the first-born of creation. With the attempts 
to which reference is there made to interpret these views 
of Brahman as the sun, and to see in the natural Ught 
a symbol merely of the spiritual light, is to be classed 
especially the paragraph Ch&nd. 3. 1-11, which undertakes 
on a larger scale to depict Brahman as the sun of the uni- 
verse, and the natural sun as the phenomenal form of this 
Brahman. It may be regarded as a further endeavour to 
penetrate beyond the sjnnbol to the substance when, in 
a series of passages, it is no longer the sun, but the 
purusha (man, spirit) in the sun, and the corresponding 
purusha in the eye that is described as Brahman. In 
ChS.nd. 1. 6-7 it is said in an adaptation of the Udgltha 
(which the Udgatar had to sing) ; as the Udgitha is lord 
over ric and sdman, so over the cosmical gods is lord 
" the golden man {jmrusha), who is seen within the sun 
with golden beard and golden hair, altogether of gold to 
the finger-tips " ; and over the psychical gods " the man 
who is seen within the eye." The former is lord over the 
worlds which lie beyond the sun, and over the desires of 
the gods; the latter over the worlds which lie on this 
side of the eye (therefore within man), and over the desires 
of men. According to Mah&n&r. 13, the ric, saman, and 
yajus (and therefore the Brahman embodied in the Veda) 
are compared to the orb of the sun, its flame, and the 
purusha in this flame, — " as this triple knowledge does 
he gleam, who as golden purusha is therein in the sun " ; 
while the identity of this purusha with that in men has 
been already asserted in Taitk_2. 8 :* — "He who dwells 

1 AUgemeine GescktchUf I, 1. pp. 253, 251. * cp. also Taitt 3. 10. 


here in men and that one yonder in the sun are the same." 
This thought is further developed in Brih. 5. 5, where 
among other things it is said : — " Yonder man who is 
in the orb of the sun, and this man who is in the right 
eye, these two depend on one another. The former 
depends by its rays on the latter, and this by the breath 
of life on the former. This one, when he determines 
to go forth, gazes at that orb of the sun pure (from rays) ; 
those rays do not interfere with him." Accordingly 
in Brih. 5. 15^ the dying man entreats the sun: — 
"Disperse thy rays, concentrate thy splendour; yea, I 
see thee, thou lovely form ; and he there, that man there, 
I am he himself." A similar conception underlies the 
explanation of themselves given in Ch&nd. 4. 11-13 by 
the three sacrificial fires in their instruction of Upakosala 
as the man in the sun, the moon, and the lightning ; 
whereupon the teacher in a subsequent correction 
remarks : — " They have told you only its environment, 
but I will tell you its real nature . . . the man who is 
seen in the eye, he is the &tman — thus he spake, — he is the 
immortal, the fearless, he is Brahman." Sun, moon, and 
lightning are, as he further shows, only the uppermost 
stations of the way of the gods, by which " the man who 
is not as a man " {jpurusho 'mdnavah) guides the soul to 
eternal union with Brahman. These views are apparently 
criticised in Kaush. 4,* when Gargya among his sixteen / 
definitions of Brahman proposes the man in the sun, the , 
moon, the lightning, and the right eye, and is therefore/ 
turned away by Aj&tasatru. 

PrdruZy manaSy dkdsa, and dditya are the most ; 
important symbols under which the worship of Brahman 
is enjoined. Theoretically, indeed, all the objects of wor- 
ship recognised and enumerated in Chand. 7. 1-15, viz. — 
Tidmany vdc\ manas, saiikalpa, cittam, dhydnarriy vijnd- 

1 cp. alBo la'ft 16. « cp. Bph. 2. 1. 


nam, balam^ annarriydpaSy tejas, dkasa^smaray ds'd,prdna 
are to be regarded as such ; and the modes of representa- 
tion of Brahman as vdc',prdnay cakshus^ srotram^ manas^ 
hridaya/m, which in Brih. 4. 1 are treated as imperfect 
and yet are not rejected, stand in a similar position, and 
so also anna/m, "prdna, cakshus, s'rotram, manas in Taitt. 
3. 1. The warmth of the body and the buzzing in the 
ear do duty also as symbols of Brahman on the ground of 
ChSjid. 3. 13. 7-8, where it is said of the light which is 
above the heaven and at the same time within men, i.e. 
of Brahman : — " His sight is that here in the body when 
he is touched a warmth is felt ; his hearing is that when 
the ears are kept closed there is heard, as it were, a hum- 
ming like a crackling as of a roaring fire. This ought we 
to worship as his sight and his hearing." Just as the 
section from which this passage is taken stands in a 
peculiar, still unexplained relation to the doctrine of the 
dtman vais'vdnara and the prdndgnihotram connected 
with it,^ so the parallel doctrine of the agni vais'vdnara * 
is attached to a cognate expression in Brih. 5. 9, which 
traces back the buzzing in the ear and the fire of digestion 
to the vais'vdnara fire in men (just as in Ch&nd. 3. 13. 7-8 
the humming in the ear and the bodily warmth is traced to 
the Brahman fire in men). Both amount essentially to the 
same thing, since, according to the doctrine of the prdnd- 
gnihotra (which will have to be further considered later 
on), digestion is a consumption of the sacrificial food by 
the fire of pr&na; and this we have already learnt to 
recognise as a symbol of Brahman. 

Among the symbols by which the suprasensible 
Brahman is represented to sentient perception is finally 
to be reckoned the sacred syllable om, which of all the 
symbols came to be the most important and fruitful. It 
was closely connected with the yoga practice, one of the 

1 Ch4nd. 6. 11-24. « S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 1. 


most peculiar phenomena of Indian religious life, which 
later on will claim consecutive treatment. 

4. Attempts to interpret the Symbolical Representations 

of Brahman 

It is a weighty saying, that we must not put new 
wine into old wine-skins. But this requirement (like so 
many other of the requirements of Jesus) is on too lofty 
a plane, too unpractical, takes too little account of human 
relations and weaknesses, to be capable of more than 
approximate fulfilment. For it lies in the nature of 
things, that advance in the religious sphere can never be 
simple and absolute, but rather that by the side of the 
newer and better that which is old and dead must ever be 
stiU preserved, because it is regarded as something sacred. 
We shall see later how entirely Christianity was compelled 
to put its new wine into the old skins. Philosophy pur- 
sues a somewhat more untrammelled course. External 
liberty, however, is still not internal ; and even in the course 
of development of the newer philosophy from Cartesius to 
Kant and onwards (to the greatest of all the battles for 
freedom that mankind has ever waged), we are only too 
often reminded of Goethe's grasshopper " that ever flits, 
and flitting leaps, and still in the grass sings its old 

It was exactly the same in India. Those symbolical 
representations of Brahman as prS,na, akas'a, etc. were too 
deeply rooted in the consciousness for it to be possible to 
throw them overboard without further trouble. There 
followed a series of attempts to preserve the symbols, 
while combining with them a truer conception of Brah- 
man. The section Kaush. 3-4 is especially typical of 
this method of procedure. The important fact, taught 
principally by Ydjnavalkhya, and perhaps first grasped by 
him, that Brahman, the &tman, must be sought above all 


in the knowing snbject, ie. in the oonaoioiifinmB (proffid), 

had found a place alike in the schools of the Samaveda,^ 
and in those of the Rigveda ; although the latter, to judge 
from Ait. Ar. 2. 1-2, adhered especially closely to the 
symbolic representation of Brahman as pr&na. While, 
however, amongst the Aitareyins the new knowledge of 
Brahman as prajnd (consciousness) is attached immedi- 
ately to this representation,* the Kaush. Up. endeavours 
to effect a reconciliation of the two by means of the 
equation, prana = prajn&. Kaush. 3 shows in a better way 
how the objects of sense are dependent on the organs of 
sense, and the latter in turn on the consciousness {prajndy 
prajndtman). But like a false note there runs through the 
whole the assertion put forward again and again : — " What 
however the prana is, that is the prajn&, and what the 
prajiia is, that is the prana." The sole reason advanced 
for this bold identification is, — " for both dwell united in 
the body, and unitedly depart out of it."* A similar 
attempt to identify the prana and the dkds^a^ and both 
with dnanda, " bliss," which forms the essence of Brah- 
man, is found in Ch&nd. 4. 10. 5: — "Brahman is life 
{prdna)y Brahman is joy {kam = dnanda). Brahman is 
the expanse (kham =^ dkdsa) ; to which the fires that 
impart this instruction add in explanation : — " In truth, 
the expanse, that is the joy, and the joy, that is the 
expanse " ; and they expound to him how that Brahman 
is life and the broad expanse. A still more compre- 
hensive blending of symbols with reality is undertaken 
by the very complex paragraph, Bph. 2. 3. Here " two 
forms " of Brahman are distinguished, the material (mortal, 
abiding, existing), and the immaterial (immortal, departing, 
other-worldly). (1) The material Biahman is physical 
nature and the human body ; the sun and the eye are its 

I Chftnd. 8. 12. 4, Kena 1-8. * Ait. Up. 3=rAit. Ar. 2. 6. 

• Kaush. 3. 4. 


essence. (2) The immaterial Brahman is vAyu and &kSs'a, 
pr&na and the void in man ; the purusha in the sun and 
the eye is its essence. Thus far therefore we are dealing 
with the symbolical. But this is abruptly transcended 
when the purusha is further identified by means of the 
famous formula of Yajnavalkhya neti neti and the upani-\ 
shad satyasya satyam borrowed from Brih. 2. 1. 20 with 
the unknowable super-essential Brahman. A similar blend- ' 
ing virtually takes place in Brih. 3. 7, when v&yu-prilna as 
the world-thread (sUtram) and the fttman as the inner guide 
(antarydmin) are discussed in the same context, and are 
therefore probably identified. The prayer of the student 
also in Taitt. 1. 1 ^ is remarkable, because a perfectly clear 
consciousness of the symbolical representation of Brahman 
by vfiyu is therein expressed : — " Reverence to Brahman ! 
Reverence to thee, V&yu ! for thou art the visible Brahman, 
thee will I recognise as the visible Brahman." In later 
texts pr&na has become occasionally a synonym for &tman, 
as in K&th. 6. 2 ; or is made dependent on the latter, as 
in Prasna 3. 3, where the pr&na (perhaps following Rigv. 
X. 121. 2, Kath. 3. 1, and anticipating the "reflection" 
between souls and objects in the SS^nkhya philosophy) is 
described as the copy or shadow (chayS.) of the S.tman. It 
was reserved for the reactionary spirit of the Maitr. Up. 6. 
1-8 to rehabilitate pr&na and fiditya, and to enlarge upon 
their identity as well as the manner of their worship in 
tedious speculations. 

5. Appendix : Interpretations of and Substitutes 
for Ritual Practices 

The partial interpretation in the oldest parts of the 
Upanishads of certain ritual conceptions and practices 
which are deeply rooted in consciousness in the light of 
the doctrine of Brahman, and the partial substitution for 

^ cp. also I. 12. 


them of new ceremonies more in harmony with the spirit 
of the new doctrine, is related to the symbolical view of 
Brahman. We propose briefly to indicate the leading 
characteristics on both sides. 

That India more than any other country is the land 
of symbols is owing to the nature of Indian thought, 
which applied itself to the most abstruse problems before 
it was even remotely in a position to treat them intelli- 
gently. As early as the period of the Brahmanas the 
separate acts of the ritual were frequently regarded as 
symbols, whose allegorical meaning embraced a wider 
range. But the Aranyakas were the peculiar arena of 
these allegorical expositions. In harmony with their 
prevailing purpose, to offer to the VS,naprastha an equi- 
valent for the sacrificial observances, for the most part no 
longer practicable, they indulge in mystical interpretations 
of these, which are then followed up in the oldest Upani- 
shads. In the latter we often see the fundamental con- 
ception of the &tman doctrine appearing in symbolical 
guise, and we should be disposed to trace in allegorical 
speculations of this nature the earliest origin of the 
Upanishad doctrine. That it is not so, that the doctrine 
of the &tman as the sole reality has not been developed 
originally from ritualistic conceptions, but was adapted to 
them first in later times, we have inferred above (p. 17 flF.) 
from the tradition surviving still in numerous instances 
in the Upanishads, that it was kings, i.e. Kshatriyas, 
from whom the BrS.hmans first received the most import- 
ant elements of the atman doctrine. This they then 
appropriated in their own way, combining it in allegorical 
fashion with the entirely heterogeneous methods of the 
ritual. This view finds an unexpected but all the more 
valuable confirmation in the manner in which the difi*erent 
schools of the Veda arrived at the conception of the fttman, 
or the pr/ina as its precursor. It is evidenced, that is to 


say, by the fact that each Veda starts from the ritual 
service peculiar to it, the adhereuts of the Rigveda from 
the ukthaniy those of tlie Samaveda from the udgtthay and 
the schools of the white Yajurveda from the ds'vamedha, 
in order by a symbolical interpretation to arrive at the 
conception of the pr&na or &tman. It is however incon- 
ceivable that the &tman doctrine should have originated 
on so different yet parallel lines of development, while the 
facts are completely explained on the supposition that the 
doctrine of the pr&na-atman was taken over from another 
source, and harmonised by each school to the best of its 
ability with the ruling ideas of its ritual. This we pro- 
pose to illustrate by a few examples. 

The chief function of the priests of the Rigveda is the 
recitation of the sastram (hymn of praise), which was 
chosen for the purpose on each occasion from the hymns 
of the Rigveda. The uktham however is "the most 
beautiful, most famous, most potent among the sastras." ^ 
This is identified by the Aitareyins under several alle- 
gorical forms with the pr&na;* while the Kaushitakins 
identify the uktham with Brahman (materialised in ric, 
yajus, s&man).* As the priests of the Rigveda regarded 
the uktham as the climax of their service, so those of the 
Samaveda looked upon the chanting of the udgttha, which 
was similarly identified with the syllable om, the prdna, 
the sun, or the purusha in the sun and the eye ; while 
in Chdnd. 2 the complete sdmaUy whose climax is formed 
by the chanting of the udgltha, is compared with various 
cosmical and psychical conditions. The early portions of 
the Upanishad - Brfi.hmana, which, including the Kena 
Upan., belongs to the Talavakara school of the Samaveda, 
is concerned with allegories of an entirely similar character. 
For the priests of the Yajurveda who are entrusted with 
the carrying out of the sacred rites a similar part is taken 

* Kau8h. 2. 6. » Ait. Ar. 2. 1-3. » Kaiish. 2. 6. 


by the act of sacrifice itself, and here again also it is the 
highest of all the sacrificial observances, viz. the horse- 
sacrifice (ds'vamedha), with which Brih. 1. 1-2 begins, in 
order to recognise in the steed the universe, into which 
Prajfipati is transformed with the object of again offering 
I himself in sacrifice. In Taitt. Samh. 7. 5. 25 also this 
allegorical interpretation of the horse of the sacrifice as 
the universe is found, and in Taitt. Up. 1. 5 in a different 
way the interdict of the sacrificial animal is broken 
through, in that a fourth sacred word of the sacrifice 
mahas, which must denote Brahman, is added to the three 
bhtlr bhuvah svar^ which are interpreted as earth, atmo- 
sphere and heaven. The remaining schools of the 
Yajurveda appear to have started in their allegorising 
from another aspect of the cult, from the disposal of the 
sacred fire-altars, as may be inferred from Kath. 1 and 
Maitr. 1. 1/ Throughout, however, we see how the ritual 
representations are, according to the Vedic schools them- 
selves, only different means whereby expression may be 
given under an allegorical garb to thoughts common to all. 
Of other allegorical interpretations we will cite further 
only that of the Gdyatri, the first in order of Vedic metres, 
consisting of three feet (w— «—«—«—, thrice repeated), to 
which an imaginary fourth was afterwards added. In this 
quadrupedal form the G&yatrl is a symbol of Brahman, 
who is likewise four-footed. Later on we shall have to 
consider this four-footed character of Brahman, and its 
connection with the four states of the soul, waking, dream- 
ing, deep sleep, and turtya. In their manner of treat- 
ment of the symbolical G&yatrl the two chief texts adopt 
entirely different methods. According to Ch&nd. 3. 12, 
the text of the Veda and all created things, the earth, the 
body, the heart, and the vital organs, these six form the one 
sixfold foot of the G&yatrl, and the three remaining feet* 

1 cp. Maitr. 6. 33. * With reference to Rigv. X. 90, 3. 


are immortal in heaven, and are symbolised by space, the 
physical body and heart ; in Brih. 5. 14, on the contrary, \ 
three feet of the Gayatri appear under a material form 1 
as the worlds, the vedas, and the vital breaths, while only / 
the fourth (tv/rtya) is transcendent, and finds expression 
symbolically in the sun, the eye, truth, power, and life. 

In this way on the rise of the new teaching an attempt 
was made to preserve the traditional heirlooms of the 
ritual, while transforming them into symbols of the S.tman 
doctrine. Soon however men went further, and en- 
deavoured to supersede the most important of the tradi- 
tional observances by other ceremonies adapted to the 
teaching concerning the atman. In Byih. 3. 1, for r 
example, for the four priests (hotar, adhvaryu, udgatar, 1 
brahman) the four cosmical and the corresponding psych- , 
ical phenomenal forms of the &tman are substituted (as \ 
fire and speech, sun and eye, wind and breath, moon and ' 
manas), and instead of the usual rewards there was 
introduced union with the &tman as realised in the 
universe. Similarly in Ch^nd. 4. 16. 2, instead of the 
br&hman his manas is introduced, and instead of the hotar, 
adhvaryu, and udgatar, the v&c' embodied in them. 

A further attempt to transcend the sacrificial ritual 
is found in the conception of the man himself and his 
life as an act of service. Thus in Ch&nd. 3. 16 the three 
periods of human life appear in place of the three bruisings 
of the Soma, and in a different way in Ch^nd. 3. 17 the 
functions of hungering, eating, begetting, etc., replace the 
chief acts of the Soma sacrifice. In detail this thought is 
carried out by assigning the different organs and functions 
to the requirements and acts of the sacrifice,^ and else- 
where with still greater elaboration.^ 

Finally, in many of the instances enumerated it 
remains doubtful whether it is intended merely to inter- 

1 Mah&u. 64. > PrMg^i^- Upan. 3-4. 


pret allegorically the still existing sacrificial cult, or to set 
it aside and replace it by physical and psychical conditions. 
The latter is distinctly the case with the last and most 
important phenomenon that we have to notice, where the 
agnihotram is replaced by the prdrm-agniliotram. 

The agnihotra/ni, consisting in a twice repeated liba- 
tion of boiled milk, which was poured into the fire every 
morning at sunrise and at sunset every evening, and 
thus was offered to the gods, and with them to all beings, 
had to be maintained throughout his life {ydvaj-jtvam) by 
the man who had once entered into the estate of a house- 
holder. After the prana, indweUing in us all, had been 
introduced in place of the gods, the attempt was made to 
replace the agnihotram or fire-sacrifice by a prdna-agni- 
hotram, a sacrifice offered in the fire of prtoa. The con- 
tinual inspiration and exspiration necessary for the 
maintenance of life (prdna) might be regarded as such. 
A first trace of this idea may be found in the words of 
Brih. 1. 5. 23 : — " Therefore if a man would observe a 
vow, he should inhale and exhale and wish, *May not 
evil or death seize me.'"^ This "inner agnihotram"* 
occurs with a more developed character and a clearer 
repudiation of the agnihotram cult in Kaush. Up. 2. 5 : — 
" These two sacrifices (of inspiration and speech, i.e. ex- 
spiration ®) are endless and immortal ; for whether awake 
or asleep they are continually being offered. The other 
sacrifices, on the contrary, are limited, for they consist 
of works. Therefore the wise men of old (who in the 
Upanishads are cited quite commonly as authority when 
novel ideas are introduced) did not offer the agnihotram." 
Like the breathing here, so the nutrition of the body also 
might be conceived as a sacrifice offered in the fire of diges- 

1 cp. also Ait Ar. 3. 2. 6. 8. 

* Ayiiaram agnih^ytram ; cp. alao Kaush. Ar. 10. 

^ cp. Pras'na 4. 4 : " The two libations of the exspiration and inspiration." 


tion (identified in Byih. 5. 9 with the agni vais'vdnara), 
and be substituted for the traditional agnihotram. Here 
also is found the first trace of the thought in Brih. 1. 5. 2 : 
— " For all food which he (who knows this) consumes, that 
he presents (to the 4tman and through it) to the gods." 
An amplified description of this new kind of agnihotram 
appears first in Ch&nd. 5. 19-24. There is no further 
need of a specially prepared milk offering, "whatever 
food is nearest to hand, that is suitable for sacrifice."^ 
Sacrifice is offered also in the dhavantya fire of the 
mouth, since the five libations, of which this sacrifice 
presented to the prS,na consists, viz. — the inspiration, inter- 
spiration, exspiration, the all- and up-breathing, and with 
them the corresponding five organs of sense, are for 
the benefit of the five nature gods and the five world 
spheres.* In a neighbouring passage the rinsing of the 
mouth customary before and after eating is conceived as 
a swathing of the prilna with water.* Both acts, the 
nourishing and the swathing of the prS^na (with obvious 
reference to Ch&nd. 5. 24), are connected together, and 
provided with corresponding rules in Maitr. 6. 9. Accord- 
ing to this passage also, the customary agnihotram seems 
to be superseded by the pran&gnihotram {dtman eva 
yajati), while in the appendix Maitr. 6. 34 both are pre- 
served side by side in that the agnihotram restored to 
its rightful position is conceived as the "openly made" 
prdndgnihotram. A final step in this development is 
indicated in the Pranagn. Up. 1-2, which, presupposing 
apparently all the passages just quoted, declares t]^e 
customary agnihotram to be superfluous, and for the 
pr&nagnihotram prescribes a minutely elaborated ritual. 

1 Chdnd. 5. 19. 1. 

* cp. the more detailed discussion in Deuesen, Upan.y p. 146 f. 

• CMnd. 5. 2. 2 ; cp. Bfih. 6. 1. 14. 


IV. The Essential Brahman 

1. Introduction 

In the later Vedanta, by a combination of his three 
essential attributes, Brahman is described as sac'cidd- 
nanda, i.e. as '* being (mt) mind (crit) and blias (dnanda). 
This name does not t)ccur in any except the latest of the 
Upanishads, and has not yet been found in Badarayana 
I or S'ankara. We are able however, with a measure of 
probability, to trace in the Upanishads the st^ps that led 
up to it, inasmuch as the more reflection on Brahman was 
emancipated from symbolic representations, the more it 
was concentrated on these three ideas, just as occasionally 
also a combination of them was attempted. Thus at the 
close of his great discussion with the nine interlocutors, 
Yajnavalkhya declares, turning to them all :^ ** Brahman 
is bliss and knowledge " {vijndnam dnandam hrahma) ; 
and in the following section,* where he reduces six 
symbolical methods of representation to their true value, 
satyam, prajnd and dnanda also appear side by side with 
three other attributes of the divine being. Taitt. 2. 1 
approximates yet closer to the character of the formula 
that was customary later, when it is said in a poetical 
passage that forms the climax of the development of 
thought : — 

He who knows Brahman 

As truth, knowledge, infinite (tcUyam jMnam anantam)^ 

Hidden in the cavity (of the heart) and in farthest space, 

He obtains every wish 

In communion with Brahman, the omniscient 

fibim here, at the opening of the AnahdavaUt, a refer- 
ence to Braliman aa dmanda (Uibs) would be entirely 
inphoe, yAnle there was no special oooaaion to describe 

» Brih. 3. 9. 28. « Brih. 4. 1. 


the Brahman as anantam (infinite) just at this point where 
stress was to be laid especially on his indwelling in the 
heart, the suggestion has been made ^ that anantam might 
not improbably be an ancient error, ratified after a time 
by tradition, for dnandam, which arose from the fact that 
the three predicates were taken for nominative, a position 
very rarely occupied by dnandam. If this is accepted we 
should have here the earliest occurrence of the formula so 
celebrated in later times. It must be admitted however 
that the force of our argument is weakened by the con- 
sideration that it is apparently a quotation that lies before 
us, and that this as such may not so confidently be 
brought into harmony with the following words. It 
is also difficult to understand how, assuming the 
universality of the reading anantam, a tradition of 
dnandamfi (in sacc'iddnanda) could have maintained itself 
by its side. A combination of the four predicates 
mentioned is found in the somewhat late Upanishad 
Sarvopanishats&ra, No. 21, where Brahman is defined as 
''truej^ knowledge, infinite, bhss."* An explanation of 
these four conceptions is added, and then it is said : — 
"That of which these four realiti/ss (being, knowledge, 
infinite, bliss) are a characteristic, and which subsists 
without change in space, time, and causality (desa-kdla- 
nimitteshu)y is called the supreme &tman or the supreme 
Brahman, indicated by the word * that' (in tat tvam a^i)" 
Thus we see the origin of the formula sac-cid-dnanda, 
which appears as such first (apart from Taitt. 2. 1) in 
J^risiixihottaiiatl^. 4. 6. 7 md B&mapdrvafel^ 92, Rftmot- 
tairat&p. 2. 4. 6, end i& subsequently employed times with- 
out munbei; Let us also use it as a framework in 

* See Deussen, Upan., p. 226. 

' satyam jMnam anantam dnandam hrahma ; for which Codex cp, with a 
more definite reference to Taitt. 2. 1 and Brili. 3. 9. 28, reaids,— scUyam jhdnam 
anantam brahmoy vijndnam dnandam brahma. 


order to summarise the most important conceptions of 
the Upanishads under the headings, — Brahman as sat^ 
as c'it, and as dnanda. In the present chapter we have 
yet to discuss the contradictory nature of Brahman and 
his unknowableness. 

2. Brahman as Being and not-Being {sat and asat), as 
Reality and not-Reality (satyam and asatyam) 

As early as Rigveda X. 129. 1, with a degree of philo- 
sophical insight remarkable when the date is considered, 
it is said of the primeval condition of things, the primeval 
substance, therefore of Brahman in the later sense, that 
at that time there was na a^ad, na u sad, " aelther not- 
being nor yet being/' Not the former, for a not-being 
neither is nor has been ; not the latter, because empirical 
reality, and with it the abstract idea of " being " derived 
from it, must be denied of the primeval substance. Since 
however metaphysics has to borrow all its ideas and 
expressions from the reality of experience, to which the 
circle of our conceptions is limited, and to remodel them 
solely in conformity with its needs, it is natural that in 
process of time we should find the first principle of things 
defined now as the (not-empirical) being, now as the 
(empirical) not-being. The latter occurred already in the 
two myths of the creation : ^ — " This universe in truth in 
the beginning was not-being; for they say. What was 
this not-being?"* and "This universe in truth in the 
beginning was nothing at all. There was no heaven, 
no earth, no atmosphere. This being that was solely 
not-being conceived a wish. May I be,"® etc. Simi- 
larly, in some passages of the Upanishads : — " This 
universe was in the beginning not-being ; this (not- 
being) was being. It arose ; thereupon an egg was 

1 See AlUjemeine Geschichtey I. 1, pp. 199, 202. 

« S'atap. Br. 6. 1. 1. 1. » Taitt. Br. 2. 2. 9. 1. 


developed," ete-i And in Taitt. 2. 7, where the verse is 
quoted : — 

Not-being was this in the beginning ; 
From it being arose. 
Self-fashioned indeed oat of itself, 
Therefore is it named "well-fashioned." 

The preceding words show clearly how this is to be under- 
stood, for there at the beginning the verse is quoted, 
" He is not as it were not-being, who knows Brahman as 
not-being," and it is then further explained how Brahman 
creates the universe, and as the (empirical) not-being, the 
unreal, is contrasted with it as the being, the real. " After 
he had created it, he entered into it ; after he had entered 
into it, he was : — 

The being and the beyond {sat and tyat)^ 
Expressible and inexpressible, 
Founded and fonndationless, 
Consciousness and unconsciousness, 
Reality and unreality. 

As reality he became everything that existed ; for this 
men call reality {tat satyam iti dcakshate)" A similar 
distinction is drawn as early as Brih. 2. 3. 1, — " In truth, 
there are two forms of Brahman, that is to say : — 

The formed and the unformed. 

The mortal and the immortal. 

The abiding and the fleeting, 

The being and the beyond (sat and tyamy^ 

This passage, in spite of the air of a compilation which 
the chapter of which it forms the opening wears, gives an 
impression of greater age, and perhaps the passage from the 
Taittirlya is connected with it, and develops the thought 
further by more clearly contrasting Brahman as the beyond, 
inexpressible, fonndationless, unconscious, unreal with the 
universe as the being, expressible, founded, conscious, real. 
At the same time this decides the question, which may well 

' Ch&nd. 3. 19. 1. 


have agitated men's minds at that time, whether the universe 
originated from the being or the not-being ; at which ques- 
.tion the (probably older) passage Ch&nd. 6. 2. 1 glances : — 
** Being only, my good sir, this was in the beginning, one 
only and without a second. Some indeed say that this 
was not-being in the beginning, one only and without a 

I second ; from this not-being being was born. But how, 

' my good sir, could this be so ? How could being be bom 
from not-being ? Being therefore rather, my good sir, this 
was in the beginning, one only and without a second." 
In hannonjr wi^ the podtion thus taken up in the follow- 

I ing ezpooidcm of C3ii&n^ 6, Bnihrnan k usually named Mt 
'' being" or scU/i/am ** reality." 

I The word satyam (reality) also is used precisely as 
sat with a twofold meaning. While it denotes Brahman 
in the section Ch&nd. 6 just referred to (so especially in 
the well-known formulas, — tcU satyam, sa dtmd, tat tvam 
(m), and is found with this meaning in Brih. 5. 4, in the 
same Upanishad Brih. 2. 1. 20 ^ satyam is on the contrary 
the reality of experience, and Brahman is contrasted with 
it as satyasya satyam, that which alone in this reality is 
truly real : — " Its secret name {upanishad) is * the reality 
of reality '; that is to say, the vital breaths {prdndh) are 
the reality, and it is their reality." The same words recur 
in Brih. 2. 3. 6 ; that they are here borrowed is evident 
from the fact that reference to the empirical reality as 
" the vital breaths " (prdndh) was justified by the preced- 
ing words in Brih. 2. 1. 20 only, and not in Brih. 2. 3. 6. 
In Brih. 1. 6. 3 also, as in these passages, satyam denotes 
the real in an empirical sense : — '^ tt If litt ^■^■'^iwifhl, 
I'lfled by the reality (amrvtani Mtfj^na crhminom) ; the 
pril9a» that is to mj» is the immortali Bfone and form 
in the reality; by these that pr&na is veiled." The 
words a/mritam satyena channa/m appear to be one of 

1 =2.3.6. 


those ancient mystical formulae, accompanied by their 
explanation, which we have already conjecturally assigned 
as the oldest form of the Upanishads. Since the opposite 
of satya (triie) is usually anrita (untrue), it is peihaps 
conceivable that the formula in another recension took the 
fonn anritam satyena channam. This would explain the 
curious play upon the word satya/m which is carried out 
in Byih. 5. 5. 1 : — " This satyam consists of three syllables. \ 
The first syllable is 5a, the second ti^ the third yam. 
The first and the last syllables ai^e the truth {satyam)^ 
in the middle is the untruth (anritam) ; this untruth is 
enclosed on both sides by the truth {anritam uhluxyatah 
satyena parigrihitam) ; by this means it becomes an 
actual being" (by Brahman the universe acquires its 
reality). The three syllables are differently explained 
in Ch^d. 8. 3. 5, sa as the immortal, ti as the mortal, 
and ya/m as the point of meeting {yam^ yacchati) of 
both; and again differently in Kau^. 1. 6 the syllable 
'tyam in the word satyam has reference to the gods and 
the vital breaths (external and internal nature), and the 
syllable sat- to the " being " distinct from the gods and 
the vital breaths, and exalted above them. 

For the later Upanishads the question whether Brah- ^ 
man is (not-empirical) being or (empirical) not-being has j 
no further significance. These, like all other pairs ofi 
opposites, are transcended by Brahman. He k ^'iiMthttrl 
bemg nor iiotrbeifig " ; ^ '' higher than that which is and 
that which is not** ;* he comprehends in himself empirical 
reality, the realm of ignorance, and eternal reality, the 
kingdom of knowledge : — 

Two there are that in the eternal infinite supreme Brahman 

Lie hidden, knowledge and ignorance ; 

Ignorance is fleeting, knowledge eternal. 

Yet he who as lord ordains them is that other.' 

1 S'vet. 4. 18. • Mui;id. 2. 2. 1. • S'vet. 5. 1. 


3. Brahman as Consciousness^ Thought {cit) 

The oonception of the dtman implies that the first 
prinoiple of things must above all be sought in man's inner 
self T5ie inner nature of a man however is not accessible 
in the same way as his exterior. While the external 
appearance as body with all its organs and functions is 
exposed to view, and both the outer form and the inner 
play of bones and joints, of sinews, muscles and nerves, 
lie open to investigation on all sides, the knowledge of 
our inner nature is very limited and one-sided. We have 
no inamediate perception of the body from within in the 
totality of its organs and their functions, like our view 
of it from without. Rather is our inner nature like a 
great house with many floors, passages and chambers, 
of which only a part is illuminated by a light burning 
in an upper storey, while all the rest remains in darkness, 
but is none the less real and existing. On first entering 
such a house, the mistake might easily arise of imagining 
the light the centre of the house, and that the accommo- 
dation of the latter extended only as far as the rays of 
the light reached, and all else since it was invisible might 
be regarded as altogether non-existent. It is due to this 
cause that the philosophising spirit of mankind in India, 
Greece, and modern times has with remarkable unanimity 
I fallen into an error, which we can most briefly describe 
by the word intellectualism^ and which consists in the 
belief that the innermost essence of man and of the 
universe, call it Brahman, first principle or deity, can bear 
any similarity or analogy or identity with that which we 
meet with here " behind man's pale forehead," as conscious- 
ness, thought or spirit. Yet whatever judgement may 
be passed on the value of this conception, in any tase the 
entire development of philosophy from Plato and Aristotle 
to the present with few exceptions has been dominated 


by the thought that the nature of the soul, and in con- 
nection therewith the nature of god, is to be conceived 
as something related or analogous to human thought, as 
reason, spirit or intelligence. And as in Western philosophy 
the origin of this thought may be traced as far back as 
Xenophanes (odXo9 opa^ otfKo<: Se voel, oi\o<: Bi r axovei), and 
Parmenides (tovtoj/ S* itrrl voelv re xal ovveKev €<m vorj/ia), 
so in India the leading advocacy if not the earliest origi- 
nation of the very same idea is attached to the name of 1 
Yajnavalkhya. All his views put forward in the Bri- ' 
hadaranyaka Upanishad centre in the conviction that 1 
Brahman, the &tman, is the knowing subject within us ; 
and on this very account, as we shall see later on, is 

Thus in Brih. 3. 4 he is invited by Ushasta to 
explain '' the immanent, not transcendent Brahman, that 
as soul is within all." For answer he refers to the soul, 
which by inspiration and exspiration, by the intermediate 
and the up-breathing, manifests itself in experience as 
the vital principle. To the objection that this is only 
to point to the fact, not to give an explanation of it, 
he rejoins : — " Thou canst not see the seer of seeing, 
thou canst not hear the hearer of hearing, thou canst not 
comprehend the comprehender of comprehension, thou 
canst not know the knower of knowledge ; he is thy soul, 
that is within aU." And to confirm the assertion that ' 
the knowing subject here characterised by him constitutes 
not only the essence of the soul but, in and with that, 
the essence of the godhead, he adds, " Whatever is distinct 
from that is liable to suffering." 

He concludes therefore his description in Brih. 3. 8. 11 
of the almighty being who sustains and pervades space, 
and with it the entire universe, with the words : — " In 
troth, Gtfirgt, this imperishable one sees but is not seen, 
hean but is not heard, comprehends bat is not oompre- 


hended, knows but is not known. Beside him there is 
none that sees, beside him there is none that heais, beside 
him there is none that ocHnprehends, beside him there 
is noM tittt kaowa I» tevtii, O CMigt, in tids impeoristi* 
able COM is spaoe inwoven and interwoven.'' (It cleaves, 
accordiB^ to Kant, to the knowing subject) 

In the instruction given to Maitreyi, in Brih. 2. 4. 
11, Yajnavalkhya compares the fitjnan to the ocean. As 
this is the meeting-place of all waters, so the &tman as 
eye is the meeting-place of all forms, as ear of all sounds, 
as nose of all smells, etc. For the correctness of our 
view of this passage let Brih. 1^ 4. 7 in the first instance 
bear testimony : — " as breathing he is named breath, 
as speaking speech, as seeing eye, as hearing ear, as 
understanding mind ; all these are but names for his 
operations." So also Ch&nd. 8. 12. 4: — "When the 
eye is directed on space, he is the spirit in the eye, the 
eye (itself) serves (only) for seeing ; and if a man desires 
to smell, it is the &tman, the nose serves only for smell- 
ing ; and if a man desires to speak, it is the S,tman, the 
voice serves only for speaking ; and if a man desires to 
hear, it is the &tman, the ear serves only for hearing; 
and if a man desires to understand, it is the &tman, the 
mind is his divine eye. With this divine eye, the mind, 
he perceives these joys and delights therein." If we 
consider that this thought is here somewhat abruptly 
joined on to that which precedes, and in general occupies 
an isolated position in the circle of the ideas of the 
Chandogya, while with Y&jnavalkhya it forms the central 
point of all his reasoning, it becomes probable that 
borrowing has taken place on the side of the Chandogya. 
The same may be true of the entire exposition of Kaush. 
3, which traces out in detail the dependence of the objects 
of sense on the organs of sense, and of the latter again 
on the jyrajndtman, the "self- consciousness" (repeatedly 


explained as identical with the &tman) ; whereupon it is 
said in close accord with the above passages : — " Into 
him as eye all forms are gathered, by the eye he reaches 
all forms ; into him as ear aU sounds are gathered, by the 
ear he reaches all sounds," etc. 

The most complete exposition by Y&jnavalkhya of his , 
theory of the &tman as the knowing subject persisting 
without change through the states of waking, dreaming, 
deep sleep, death, migration and final deliverance of the \\ 
soul is found in the incomparable section B^rih. 4. 3-4. \ 
Here the king Janaka first proposes the question, — 
" What serves man for light ? " Y&jnavalkhya returns an 
evasive answer, — the sun serves him for light. When, 
however, the sun has set ? — The moon. And when this 
also has set ? — The fire. And when this also is ex- 
tinguished ? — ^The voice. And when this also is silenced ? 
— " Then is he himself (dtman) his own light." " What do 
you mean by self ? " '* It is the spirit behind the organs ^ 
of aeiuie which is essential knowledge, and shines within j 
in the heart." The further description is given how this 
spirit, while remaining the same, roves through this 
world in waking and dreaming, through the world of 
Brahman in deep sleep and death ; how in waking it 
surveys the good and evil of this world without being 
moved thereby, " for nothing cleaves to this spirit " (the 
knowing subject stands opposed to everything that is 
objective) ; how in dreaming it builds up a world for 
itself, " for it is the creator "; how finally, in deep dream- 
less sleep, wrapped round by the self that consists of 
knowledge, the p7'djna dtmaUy i.e. the absolute knowing 
subject, it has no consciousness of objects, and yet is not I 
unconscious ; — " when then he sees not, yet is he seeing, 
although he sees not ; since for the seer there is no inter- 
ruption of seeing because he is imperishable ; but there 
is no second beside him, no other distinct from him for him 


to see."^ Compare the cognate passage Brih. 2. 1. 17-20, 
according to which on falling asleep all the prcmas (eye, 
ear, etc.) enter into the &tman, and on waking all the vital 
spirits, worlds, gods and living beings spring forth from 
him again like sparks from the fire. The above passage 
. I Brih. 4. 4. 1 f. further describes how at death all the vital 
I ; powers gather around the knowing subject, in order with him 
i to go forth to a new incarnation, — " because he has become 
one, therefore he does not see, as they say " (in reality he 
continues ever seeing) ; and how finally after deliverance 
has been attained the body is cast off like the skin of 
a snake, " but the bodiless, the immortal, the life is pure 
Brahman and pure light" {i.e. the knowing subject). 
''In truthy" it ia said in oondusiony ''this great on- 
begotten adf is of the vital oiigaiis that which consists of 
knowledge." This identity of Brahman with the knowing 
: subject, which forms the ruling conception in the thought 
i of Yajnavalkhya, is most clearly expressed in a (certainly 
I later) modification of the illustration of the lump of salt 
; (preserved in its original form in Brih. 2. 4. 12) : — " It is 
' like a lump of salt, that has no (distinguishable) inner or 
outer, but consists through and through entirely of savour ; 
so in truth this d.tman has no (distinguishable) inner or outer, 
but consists through and through entirely of knowledge." * 
How deep Yajnavalkhya's conception of Brahman as 
the knowing subject has penetrated we see from the fact 
that it dominates the entire succeeding development of 
ideas, as we propose briefly to show. 

In the first place, we must here recall to mind the 
description of Brahman as " the light of lights." * This 
expression is nothing more than an epitome of the thought 
expounded above, that the &tman is itself its own light, 

1 Brih. 4. 3. 23. » Brih. 4. 5. 13. 

^ jyotuMm jyotis, Brih. 4. 4. 66 ; taken over thence in Mu^d. 2. 2. 9, Bhag. 
Git4 13. 17. 


when sun, moon and fire cease to shine. Thus too is to 
be explained the splendid verse that occurs thrice in 
diflferent schools : * — 

There no sun shines, no moon, nor glimmering star, 
Nor yonder lightning, the fire of earth is quenched ; 
From him, who alone shines, all else borrows its brightness. 
The whole world bursts into splendour at his shining. 

The original position of this verse is in the K^thaka 
Upanishad, though this treatise otherwise frequently be- 
trays its dependence on Brih. 4. 3-4.* Of Ch&nd. 8. 12. 4 
we have already spoken above. When further it is said, 
in the well-known passages Ch&nd. 8. 3. 4 and 8. 12. 3,* 
that the soul in deep sleep is raised from out of this body, 
enters into the purest light (param jyotis) and thereby 
assumes its proper form, the peculiar designation of Brah- 
man as param jyotis may well recall Y&jnavalkhya's con- 
ception of the &tman, which as the knowing subject is its 
own light. 

Associated with this thought, and like it of great 
antiquity in India, is the conception of the divine world 
as an eternal kingdom of light, in contrast to the dark- j 
ness of this earth.* This conception is combined further / 
on with the philosophical thought that the &tman as the 
knowing subject is its own light, to form the frequently 
recurring idea of the eternal day of Brahman. This is the 
case perhaps as early as ChS,nd. 3. 11, where the descrip- 
tion is given how the sun after the close of the thirty- 
one world-periods will " no longer rise or set, but remain 
stationary in mid-heaven " ; how moreover for the wise 
this condition is already attained now, so that for them 
there is perpetual day {sakrid-divd ha eva asmai bhavati). 

iK&th. 6. 16, S'vet. 6. 14, Mu^^d. 2. 2. 10. 

» cp. Kath. 4. 3-5, 5. 8. 

»cp. Maitr. 2. 2, Brahma Up. 1. 

*cp. the proverbial sayings quoted in Brih. 1. 3. 28, Ch&nd. 3. 17. G. 


More is found in CMnd. 8. 4. 2, where Brahman is com- 
pared to a bridge : — " Therefore, in truth, even the night, 
if it crosses this bridge, is changed into day, for this world 
of Brahman " (which is in the heart) " is perpetual light 
{sakrid vibhdta)" The following passages are dependent 
upon this : — " the darkness gives place, now there is no 
longer day nor night"; ^ "when the darkness (of ignorance) 
is pierced through, then is reached that which is not 
affected with darkness; and he who has thus pierced 
through that which is so affected, he has beheld like a 
glittering circle of sparks Brahman bright as the sun, 
endowed with all might, beyond the reach of darkness, 
that shines in yonder sun as in the moon, the fire and 
the lightning " ; * meditation on om leads in the 
highest degree " to the eternal day of Brahman, whence is 
the source of lights " ; * " for him (the sanny&sin) there is 
neither day nor night ; therefore it was said also by the 
rishi,* * for it is a perpetual day ' ; ^ in yoga the spirit 
becomes " wholly the light of knowledge alone, the eternal, 
sleepless and dreamless, without name and form, alto- 
gether resplendent,® omniscient, — ^to him worship is of 
no more account " ; ^ " the eternal, free from slumber and 
dreams, is then his own light;® for ever light ^ is this 
being, this essential being in himself." ^® 

That the ftianan is the knowing snbject within U8» wd 
eannot therefore be an object of worship, is enforced also 
in the opening verses of the Kens Upanishad. Here in 
connection with a verse preserved in two very different 
forms in Byih. 4. 4. 18 and Kena 2, which demands that 
the eye shall be acknowledged solely as eye, the ear solely 
as ear," etc., and that accordingly they shall be regarded 

1 S'vet. 4. 18. 2 Maitr. 6. 24. » N&dabindu 17. 

* Ohaiid. 3. 1 1 . 3. « Kanthas'ruti 2. « Chand. 8. 4. 1. 

^ QaudapAda (on the Mandilkya) 3. 35. 

» cp. Brih. 4. 3. 14, KiUh. 5. 15. » Ch&nd. 8. 4. 1. 

'" Gaudapuda, ib., 4. 81. " Brih. 4. 4 18. 


as mere instruments,^ the thought is further developed 
that speech, thought, eye, ear and the organ of smell do 
not aid in perceiving Brahman, but themselves first, as 
objects, are perceived by Brahman as the subject.* 

The conviction that the &tman is the knowing subject 
has finally found an entrance also into the schools of the 
Rigveda, although these are wont more usually to exalt 
the atman as 'pr6,na or purvsha (in the sense of Rigveda 
X. 90). With this is immediately connected, in Ait. 3, 
the doctrine that the fitman is not that with which we 
see, hear, smell, speak or taste (the organs of sense), but is 
solely and alone consciousness (prajnd) : — " Everything 
that this heart and mind are, reflection, meditation, delibera- 
tion, invention, intelligence, insight, resolve, purpose, desire, 
suffering, recollection, idea, force, life, love, will, — all these 
are names of consciousness." All gods, all elemental forces, 
all beings, " all this is guided by consciousness, grounded in 
consciousness ; by consciousness this universe is governed, 
consciousness is its foundation, consciousness is Brahman." 

The second of the schools of the Rigveda, Kaush. 3 and 
4, proceeds on somewhat different lines. Here the tradi- 
tional view of Brahman as prdna is combined with the 
new recognition of Brahman as prajndtman (the self of 
consciousness) by means of the assertion which accom- 
panies an admirable proof of the dependence of all the 
objects and organs of sense on consciousness, and which 
is constantly repeated : — " what the prana is, that is the 
prajM, and what the prajM is, that is the pr&na." This 
identification of conceptions so heterogeneous seems to 
show^ that the doctrine of Brahman as the knowing subject 
{j)rajnd) among the Kaushitakins, and probably also 
among the Aitareyins, is borrowed, and presumably is 
adopted from the circle of thought of Yajnavalkhya. 

1 Eena 2 ; cp. in illustration CMnd. 8. 12. 4, Kuubb. 3. a 
» Kena 2-8. 


In the later philosophy this doctrine has shaped itself 
into the broader conception of Brahman or the &tman as 
the " spectator " (sdkshin). This occurs first in S'vet. 6. II 
{sdkshin) and Pras'na 6. 5 (paridrashtar), perhaps in 
connection with Brih. 4. 3. 32 {scUila)} 

4. Brahman as Bliss (dnanda) 

It is essential to the deeper religious consciousness to 
regard the earthly life not as an end in itself, but merely 
as a road by which we must travel to our true desti- 
nation. The three great religions of mankind therefore, 
[ Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Christianity, and not less 
I the philosophy of SdiopenhftiiAr, whioh zepiesentB Chris- 
j tianity in its purest form, agree in teadhing tliat the 
I hi^est aim of our endeavour is deliverance from the 
1 present existence. This view assumes that this earthly 
existence is a condition from which we need deliverance, 
and is to that extent a conception of it which has been 
briefly and well described as pessimism, — ^although recently 
the sensational philosophy has laid its hands upon this 
word, and has practised so childish a play upon it that 
we shrink from using it any longer. The pessimistic view 
of life is only so far justified as it is a presumption of the 
doctrine of deliverance, so far therefore as it belongs, for 
example, to the real and original Christianity : o Koafio*: oko<: 
€P T# TTopfjp^ Ketrai.* In this sense pessimism is also the 
latent underlying view of the Upanishad teaching. And 
the later systems of Buddhism and the Sankhya philosophy 
which are founded upon it, as well as some of the more 
recent Upanishads, take pleasure in dwelling upon this 
theme, as will subsequently be shown; for men lend a 
willing ear to the story of their own sufferings. In 

1 Further references are given in the Index to the Upamshads under the 
word " spectator." 
« 1 Ja 5«. 


contrast to these the older UpaDishads are content in a 
discreet and, as it were, modest style to recall occasionally 
the nature of existence, full of suffering and exciting 
longings for deliverance. Nor is this ever done in a better 
or more fitting manner than in the difficult words that 
suggest a wide experience, — ato *nyad drtam, "what is 
distinct from him, that is full of suffering." ^ Contrasted 
with all that is distinct from him and therefore involved 
in suffering, Brahman is described in one of the passages 
where this formula occurs as that which " oversteps 
hunger and thirst, pain and illusion, old age and death,"* 
or according to other passages as " tlie self (diman), the 
8inl60B» free from dd age, fitee horn daeth and free ftom 
wadhieiog, withdut hunger and without thirst^' "His 
name is * exalted,' for he is exalted above all evil," * etc. 
All these frequently recurring descriptions are summed up 
in the designation of Brahman as dnanday " bliss." 

The view that the gods, in contrast to the suffering 
world of men, enjoy an untroubled felicity, is probably 
common to all peoples. But in the Upanishads bliss 
appears not as an attribute or a state of Brahman, but as 
his peculiar essence. Brahman is not dnandin^ possessing 
bliss, but dnanda^ bliss itself. This identification of 
Brahman and drianda is effected through the medium of 
the view that, on the one hand, the deep, dreamless sleep, 
by destroying the existing contrast of subject and object, 
is a temporary union with Brahman ; while on the other 
hand, since all suffering is then 'abolished, the same state 
is described as a bliss admitting of no enhancement.^ 

1 Bjih. 3. 4. 2, 3. 6. 1, 3. 7. 23. « Brih. 3. 5. 1. 

» Ch&nd. 8. 1. 6, 8. 7. 1. * Chand. 1. 6. 7. 

^ cp. Plato, ApoL 40(f, where Socrates speaks of a night iv jj ouro) KoribapBtv 
&aT€ firjS' ovap idctv, and is of opinion that even the King of Persia has not 
many days or nights which are comparable with this in happiness ; cp. Shake- 
speare also, HanUetj iii. i., — " and by a sleep to say we end The heartache 
and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation 
Devoutly to be wished." 


We propose now to show how the conception of Brahman 
as bliss is originally based on these ideas. Here too the 
Bpihadaranyaka takes the leading place. 

'' When however he is oveioome by deep sleep, when 
he is oonsoioQs of ooiihiBgi then the veins ealled hitdJi 
(" b^aeficeat'') are aetive^ aeveiitj'4#wo thousand of which 
ramify from tlia heart outwards in the pefocazdiam ; into 
these he ^^ides, and raposes in the pericardium ; and like 
a youth or a great kmg or a great Brfthman enjoying an 
excess of bliss {atighnim dnandasya) reposes, so he also 
then reposes."^ This passage* appears to be traceable 
back to the detailed description of deep sleep in Brih. 
4._3. 19-33, which, although it does not yet define the 
number of veins, in its exaltation of bliss in 4. 3. 33 gives 
the key to the atighnim dnandasya^ and in general (apart 
from interpolations) makes an impression of greater origin- 
ality. Here, after a description of deep sleep as the state 
**in which he, fallen asleep, experiences no further desire, 
and sees no dream image," and after mention of the veins, 
the transition is described from the dream consciousness to 
the consciousness of deep sleep, — ^from the consciousness 
of being this or that to the consciousness of being all 
{aham eva idam sarvo '«mt), whereby subject and object 
become one ; it is then said : — " That is his real form, in 
which he is exalted above desire, and is free from evil and 
fear. For just as one who dallies (the original meaning of 
dnanda) with a beloved wife has no consciousness of outer 
or inner, so the spirit also, dallying with the self whose 
essence is knowledge {prdjnena dtmand^ i.e. with Brahman) 
has no consciousness of inner and outer. That is his real 
form, wherein desire is quenched, and he is himself his 
own desire, separate from desire and from distress. Then 
the father is no longer father, the mother no longer 
mother, the worlds no longer worlds, the gods no longer 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 19. > Like its parallel, Kaush. 4. 19. 


gods, the vedas no longer vedas," etc., all contrasts have 
disappeared, " then is he unaffected by good or evil, then 
has he subdued all the griefs of his heart." This state is 
then further described as one of pure knowledge, of exist- 
ence as subject without object (cf. the v6fjai<: voTJaew^), and 
it is then added, — " This is his supreme goal, this is his 
supreme happiness, this is his supreme world, this is his 
supreme bliss ; by a small portion only of this bliss all 
other creatures live." In explanation of this sentence 
(which for that reason is probably original here, and 
borrowed from this place in Taitt. 2. 8, where the thought 
is further developed) the proof is finally offered by means 
of a progressive advance through six (in Taitt. 2. 8, ten) / 
grades, how the highest human bliss is only a billionth ! 
part (in Taitt. 2. 8, a hundred trillionth) of bliss in the 
world of Brahman, — " and this is the supreme bliss, this 
is the world of Brahman " (which is in the heart). 

In this passage of the Brihad&ranyaka we evidently 1 
have before us the origin of the doctrine of Brahman as 
bliss. The entire passage treats of deep sleep, and describes 
it on the one hand as union with Brahman, on the other 
as a state of supreme unsurpassable bliss, until in the con- 
cluding words, — "this is the supreme bliss, this is the 
Brahman world," — the identification of Brahman and bliss \ 
is complete. That by "the Brahman world" is to be ' 
understood not the world of Brahman, but Brahman as 
the world (not hrahmano lokah, but brahma eva lokah) 
is already justly remarked by the commentator, p. 815. 5. I 
and 915. 7. Accordingly the entire doctrine of Brahman 
as bliss appears to rest upon this passage, in which we are 
able to observe its birth,^ and the consideration of the 
remaining passages that contain this doctrine makes it 
appear quite possible that they are all derived from our 

^ The description of all the gods as dnanda-Aimdndh^ given as early as S'atap. 
Br. X. 3. 5. 13, is an entirely different thing. 


passage, ^n'}], i. a .19-35. We have already discussed 
Brih. 2. 1. 19 (and Kaush. 4. 19). The word dnanda does 
not occur in the Chand. Up. ; but when it is said in 
Chfi,nd. 4. 10. 5 : — "Brahman is life (prdna), Brahman is 
joy (kam), Brahman is space (kham)" kham stands here 
foi' dkdsa and kam for dnanda ; and the formal setting 
side by side of the three ideas, 'prdna^ dnanda^ dkdsa 
gives the impression of a later attempt at harmonisation. 
ChS,nd. 7. 23 also, where pleasure {sukham, here = dnanda) 
is identified with Bhuman (yo vai bhilmd tat sukham) by 
the following description which is given of hMman as the 
knowing subject without object suggests the conjecture 
of a dependence again on the circle of thought of 
Y&jfiavalkhya. The Kaushltaki Upanishad celebrates 
Brahman, as noticed above, as the prdna identical with 
the prajnd, and accordingly employs the word dnanda 
only in its original meaning of " sexual desire." It is all 
the more surprising that in Kaush. 3. 8, after it has just 
been said that we ought not to seek for dnanda but for 
the dnandasya vijndtar, there is immediately added : — 
" This pr&na however is the prajn&tman, is bliss {dnanda\ 
never ageing, and immortal" Here the borrowing of the 
word dnanda from another circle of thought is quite 
. The chief passage treating of Brahman as bliss is the 
/ AnandavalltjTaitt. 2.^ Wheve the annamaya,prd7ia7naya, 
manomaya and xijndnamaya dtman are in turn stripped 
oflf as mere husks in order to penetrate to the dnanda- 
maya dtman as kernel. Of this S,tman consisting of bliss 
it is then said : — " Love is his head, joy his right side, 
joyousness his left side, bliss his trunk, Brahman his 
under part, his base." Brahman, that is here described as 
the base of the self consisting of bliss, is originally non- 
existent (i.e. only metaphysically existing), and fashions 

1 Taitt. 3 is only an imitation. 


himself out of himself, as is further said, therefore is he 
named well-fashioned. " What this well-fashioned one is, 
in truth, that is the essence ; for when a man receives this 
essence, then is he full of bliss ; for who could breathe, 
who live, if that bliss were not in the dMs'a (the void, 
from which the universe originated). For it is he who 
creates bliss. For when a man finds his peace, his resting- 
place, in that invisible, unreal, inexpressible, unfathomable 
one, then has he attained to peace." Further, a warning 
is given against pushing the craving for knowledge too 
far, and against continuing to distinguish in the self con- 
sisting of bliss a subject and object, whereby again a man 
would fall under the dominion of fear. Then Taitt. 2. 8\ 
follows with the heading, — " This is the treatise on bliss] 
(dnandasya mimdnsdy Here we find the very same 
ascription of power to bliss which is already known from 
Brih. 4:.^^^J^ ; in the latter passage it stands naturally as 
explanatory of the preceding sentence, while in Taitt. 2. 8 
it is introduced under an especial title, and without such 
connection with the preceding. This circumstance, as 
well as the increase of endowment from six limbs to ten 
with several details, makes it probable that the two texts 
do not spring from a common source, but that Taitt. 
2. 8 depends directly on Brih. 4. 3. 33. If this is. 
accepted, then Taitt. 2 might prove to be directed 
polemically against Brih. 4. 3-4. For the expression 
vijndnamaya dtman (purusha) denotes, in Brih. 4. 3. 7, 
4. 4. 22,^ the knowing subject apart from object, and 
therefore the supreme; while in Taitt. 2. 5 this 
vijndnamaya is conceived as subject contrasted with 
object, and contrary to Brih. 4. 3 is brought down to a 
mere preliminary grade of the dnandamaya. 

All later passages depend partly on Brih. 4. 3,* partly 
on Taitt. 2, as for example Mah&nS,r. 63. 16, Maitr. 6. 13, 

1 cp. 2. 1. 16. " cp. Mu^^d. 2. 2. 7, Ma^^d. 5 with Gaud. 1. 3-4. 



I 6. 23, 6. 27, 7. 3, Tejobindu 8 {dnandam nandana- 

atltam), Sarvop. 9-13, etc. The earliest description of the 

annamaya^ etc. as " sheaths " (kosas) is found perhaps in 

the verse Maitr. 6. 27. Several of the later passages add 

. the conception of the dnandamaya as the innermost 

'; kernel (corresponding to the original intention) ; others, in 

' the poetical description of it in Taitt. 2. 5, still discern 

a multiplicity (pWyam, moda^ pramoday dnanda)^ and 

conceive it therefore as a fifth sheath, in which brahman^ 

designated in Taitt. 2. 5 the " foundation," holds its place 

as kernel ; a view which gave rise in the later Ved&nta to 

an important discussion. 

5. Negative Character and Unknowahhnesss of the 
essential Brahman 

We have seen how the descriptions of Brahman as 

being, thought and bliss (sa^'Cid-dnanda^ which are 

common in the later Ved&nta, are founded on the ancient 

Upanishads, and how their statements concerning Brahman 

may be comprehended under these three ideas. But no 

I definite conclusion is by this means reached on these 

f lines as to the nature of Brahman. For the being, which 

Brahman is, is not to be understood as such being as is 

i known to us by experience, but is rather, as we saw, in an 

/ empirical sense a not-being. The descriptions of Brahman 

as the knowing subject within us are usually accompanied 

by the assertion that this knowing subject, the " knower 

of knowing," remains himself always unknowable, the 

intention being merely to deny thereby of Brahman all 

objective existence. The bliss also, which is described as 

the essence of Brahman, is not such a bliss as we know 

or experience, but is only such as holds sway in deep 

dreamless sleep, when the distinction of subject and object 

and therefore consciousness has ceased. Accordingly all 

^ three definitions of Brahman as being, thought or bliss 


are in essence onlj_^negative. Being is the negation of all 
empirical being, thought the negation of all objective being, 
bliss the negation of all being that arises in the mutual 
relation of knowing subject and known object; and therefore 
as the final result and main dogma of the Upanishad teaching 
the conclusion is reached, as far as his peculiar and essential 
being is concerned. Brahman is absolutely unknowable. 

This unknowableness of Brahman, the &tman, is already 
most emphatically declared by the ancient Upanishads. 
Yajnavalkhya sums up his speculations concerning the 
atman no less than four times ^ in the celebrated 
formula : — " He however, the &tman, is not so, not so 
{neti^ neti). He is incomprehensible, for he is not 
comprehended ; indestructible, for he is not destroyed ; 
unaffected, for nothing affects him ; he is not fettered, he 
is not disturbed, he suffers no harm." " In truth, this 
great unbegotten self does not grow old or decay, and is 
immortal, fearless, is Brahman." * " That it is, Gargl, 
which the wise call the imperishable {aksharam) ; it is 
neither thick nor thin, neither short nor long, neither red 
(like fire) nor fluid (like water), neither shadowy nor dark, 
neither wind nor ether (space), not adhesive (like gum), 
without taste or smell, without eye or ear, without speech, 
without understanding, without vital force and without 
breath, without mouth or size, without inner or outer ; 
never consuming anything, nor consumed by any." * 

It is upon these passages that the amplifications of the 
later Upanishads depend. Thus in K&th. 2. 18, where it is 
said of the " seer " {vipascit, i.e. the knowing subject) : — 

The seer is not bom and does not die, 

lie does not originate from any, nor become any, 

The Ancient One, from everlasting abides everlastingly,* 

Nor is he slain, for it is the body that is slain. 

1 B|ih. 4. 2. 4, 4. 4. 22, 4. 5. 15, 3. 9. 26,— a fifth occurrence, Brih. 2. 3. 6, is 

« Brih. 4. 4. 25. » Bfih. 3. 8. 8. < Bpih. 4. 4. 18. 


^ Similarly in Mund. 1. 1. 5 : — "T he higher (kn owledge) 
however is that by which that imperishable one^ is 
known ; that which 

Invisible, incomprehensible, without genealogy, colourless, 

Without eye or ear, without hands or feet, 

Eternal, pervading all and over all, scarce knowable, 

That unchangeable one 

Whom the wise regard as being's womb." 

Further : — 

"That which remains inaudible, intangible, invisible, 
Which can neither be tasted nor smelt, imperishable. 
That abides eternal, without beginning or end, greater than the 

He who knows that has escaped from the jaws of death."* 

And: — 

" He stretches himself around, without frame or sinews, 
Pure, unsullied, invulnerable, free from evil. 
Gazing forth, by himself alone, all-embracing. 
For each after its kind has he for all time determined the goal."* 

The passage Ch&nd. 8. 1. 5* — "that is the S,tman, the 
sinless, free from old age, free from death and suflFering, 
without hunger or thirst," seems to depend on Brih. 3. 5, 
— "that (&tman), who oversteps hunger and thirst, pain 
and illusion, old age and death." In Chand. 6. 8-16, on the 
other hand, the various phenomena of nature that engage 
attention are traced back to their imknowable source, of 
which it is said in the celebrated refrain nine times 
repeated : — " What that subtle being {i.e. that unknow- 
, 1 able, animan) is by which this universe subsists, that is 
I the real, that is the soul, that art thou {tat tvam asi)y 

The unknowableness of Brahman, which in the above 
passages led to a denial to him of all empirical predicates, 
is expressed in poetic style also by ascribing to Brahman 

1 aksharamy cp. Brih. 3. 8. 8. * Kath. 3. 15. 

•Is'&S. *-8. 7. 1. 


the most contradictory and irreconcilable attributes, as 
shown in the following two passages : — 

"He stays, yet wanders far from hence. 
He reposes, yet strays everywhere around, 
The movement hither and thither of the god, 
Who could understand besides me?"^ 

"One, — motionless and yet swift as thought, — 
Departing, not even by gods to be overtaken ; 
St;mding still he yet overtakes all runners, — 
In him the god of the wind interwove the primeval waters. 

Resting is he and yet restless. 
Afar is he and yet so near 1 
He is within all, 
And yet yonder outside of all."* 

Here the opposite predicates of nearness and distance, 
of repose and movement, are ascribed to Brahman in such 
a manner that they mutually cancel one another, and 
serve only to illustrate the impossibility of conceiving 
Brahman by means of empirical definitions. 

The impossibility of knowing Brahman is however 
most cleariy expressed in the formula of Y&jilavalkhya 
already quoted, — neti, neti {na iti, na iti), " it is not so, 
it is not so." As to its original meaning there is some 
doubt. According to Hillebrandt,® na is not the negative, 
but an affirmative particle signifying " in truth," " it is." 
Or the formula might be rendered * na iti na ' iti, Brahman 
"is not not," is the negation of negation, "a denial of a 
denial," the ^^ nihtesniht, daz ^ was denne niht" as M. 
Eckhart expresses it.* These ideas however are opposed 
not only to the consistency with which in the four passages 
in which this formula originally appears * it is applied to 
the elucidation of a series of negative predicates,* but also 

1 K&th. 2. 21. » Is'ft 4-6. 

^ In a review of my translation of the Upanishads, DetUsche Literaturz,, 
1897, p. 1929. * ed. Keiflfer, pp. 322, 539. 

» Brih. 4. 2. 4, 4. 4. 22, 4. 6. 15, 3. 9. 26. * agrihyo na hi grihyate, etc 


to all the Indian explanations of the formula with which 
we are acquainted. Such an explanation is already offered 
in Brih. 2. 3. 6 : — na hi etasmdd — iti neti—anyat param 
, asti, " for there is no other (definition) beyond this, that 
■ it is not so " ; or (less appropriately), " for there no other 
beside this (Brahman), therefore it is said, it is not so." 
According to this explanation na iti stands for na evam, 
as BMarfiyana already explains :^ — prakrita-etdvattvam hi 
pratishedhati, ** for it (the passage) denies the aforesaid * 
' being-so-and-so," and S'ankara (while giving the two ex- 
planations quoted above) confirms this sutra. Similarly at 
an earlier period : — 

The saying, "it is not so, not so,*' 
Rejecting aU that can be expressed in word; 
As the assertion of unknowableness proves. 
Can only be referred to Him.* 

We have already learnt from the philosophy of Kant 
' that the entire empirical order of things is subject to the 
laws of space, time and causality,* and that the self-exist- 
ent, or in Indian language Brahman, in contrast with the 
empirical system of the universe, is not like it in space 
but is spaceless, not in time but timeless, not subject to 
but independent of the law of causality. This proposition 
could not express an eternal truth valid alike for all ages 
and peoples without having been anticipated by all the 
metaphysicians of the past, and therefore also in the 
Upanishads. We propose to investigate this point here, 
merely prefacing the remark that those ancient times were 
frequently unable to formulate the idea of a spaceless, 
timeless, causeless existence in its abstract simplicity, but 
only to conceive its representation in experience. On 
this assumption spacelessness is regarded as a disengage- 

1 Siitram 3. 2. 22. « Bfih. 2. 3. 6. 

* Qaudapftda, M&^dakyak&rikft 3. 26. 

* detfa-k&la-nimitUiy as it is already expressed in a later Upanishad, and 
quite a dozen times by S'ankara. 


ment of Brahman from the laws of space, which assigns 
limits to everything and appoints it a definite place and no 
other, while Brahman is described as omnipresent, all-pre- 
vading, unlimited, infinitely great and infinitely small. 
Similarly the timelessness of Brahman appears as freedom 
from the limitations of time, as an eternity without begin- 
ning or end, or again as instantaneous duration occupying no 
time (as lightning). And finally. Brahman's independence 
of causality is exhibited as freedom from all the laws of 
becoming, the universal rule of which is causality, as cause- 
lessness, absolute self-existence, and unchanging endurance. 

(1) Brahman as spaceless. In Brih. 3. 8. 7 it is I 
said : — " That which is above the heaven, G&rgt, and | 
that which is beneath the earth, and that which is between 
them, the heaven and the earth, that which men call the 
past, present and future, that is woven within and 
throughout in space." " But wherein then is space woven 
within and throughout?" The answer is given in a 
magnificent description of Brahman as the imperishable \ 
(aksharam)^ and in conclusion it is said : — " In truth, in | 
this imperishable one is space woven within and through- j 
out, GS,rgl." " This Brahman is independent of earlier 
and later, of inner and outer ; this fttman is Brahman, the 
all-perceiving."^ "The front (eastern) regions of the 
heaven are his front organs, the right (southern) regions 
of the heaven are his right organs, the hinder (western) 
regions of the heaven are his hinder organs, the left 
(northern) regions of the heaven are his left organs, the 
upper regions of the heaven are his upper organs, the 
lower regions of the heaven are his lower organs, all the 
regions of the heaven are all his organs."* "It however 
(the unlimited, the bhUman) is beneath and above, in the 
west and the east, in the south and the north ; it is this 
whole universe. — Next for the self-consciousness : I 

1 Or all-prevading, sarvdnvJbhil, Bpih. 2. 6. 19. * Biih. 4. 2. 4. 


(aham) am beneath and above, in the west and in the 
east, in the south and in the north ; I am this whole 
universe. — ^Next for the soul (dtman) : The soul is beneath 
and above, in the west and in the east, in the south and 
in the north ; the soul is this whole universe."^ Cp. the 
\ passage Maitr. 6. 17: — "Brahman in truth was this 
universe at the beginning, the one, the infinite ; infinite 
towards the east, infinite towards the south, infinite in 
the west, infinite in the north, and above and beneath, 
infinite on all sides. For him there is no eastern, or any 
I region of the heaven at all, no athwart, no beneath or 
above." In Ch&nd. 3. 14. 3 also:— "This is my soul 
{dtman) in my heart, smaller than a grain of rice or 
barley or a mustard-seed, than a grain or the kernel of a 
grain of millet ; this is my soul in my heart, greater than 
the earth, greater than the air, greater than the heaven, 
greater than these worlds." Passages like these are in the 
mind of the writer when in a frequently recurring verse * 
Brahman is named "the smallest of the small and the 
greatest of the great " ; and when the epithets " omni- 
present " ' and " all-prevading " * are applied to him. The 
I description also of him as " indivisible " * implies inde- 
\ pendence of space, since all that is in space is divisible. 
Since further all that is in space as being divisible 
involves a plurality, to deny all plurality of Brahman • 
amounts t/O a rejection of the predicates of space as in 
K&th. 4. 10-11 :— 

That which is here is also there, 
That which is there is also here; 
From death to new death he rushes 
Who fancies that he here sees difference! 

1 Ch&nd. 7. 25! s K&th. 2. 20, S'vet 3. 20, Mah&n. 10. 1. 

^ Borvagoy SVet 6. 17, Mu^d. 3. 2. 5; saroagata^ SVet. 3. 11. 21, 
Mund. 1. 1. 6. 

« mbhu, Kft^h. 2. 22, 4. 4 ; vydpdka, Kftth. 6. 8. 

» nMfcJfeaZa,SVete.l9,Mu9d.2. 2.9; 0^(00,8 vet. 6.5,Pras'na6.5,Maitr.6.15. 

* As in Kaush. 3. 8 (no etan ndnd), Bpih. 4. 4. 19. 


In the spirit should this l)e noted, 
Here there is no plurality at all ; 
From death to new death he strides, 
Who fancies that he here sees diiTerence ! 

(2) Brahman is timeless. Even more definitely than/ 
of space, the predicate of time is denied of Brahman.l 
This is already the case in some of the passages quoted. . 
Further in the descriptions of him as "independent of ' 
past and future " ; ^ " Lord of the past and future " ; * 
" exalted above the three times " ; * at whose feet time rolls 
along, as it is said in the splendid description of Byih. . 
4. 4. 16-17 :— ' ' 

At whose feet rolling on 
In years and days time passes by. 
Whom as the light of lights the gods 
Adore, as immortality. 

On whom the fivefold host of living beings, 
Together with space* depend, 
Him know I as my soul, 
Immortal the immortal. 

More profound still is the thought of Maitr. 6. 15 : — \ 
" In truth, there are two forms of Brahman, time and 1 
not-time. That is to say, that which existed before the \\ 
sun is not-time, and that which began to be with the sun \ 
is time, is the divisible." Perhaps this beginning of time ^ 
at a definite moment is to be understood here only in a 
figurative sense, as in Plato.* Just as Brahman's inde- 
pendence of space is figuratively represented not only 
under the figure of infinite vastness, but also at the same . 
time of infinite littleness,*^ so his independence of time \ 
appears on the one hand as infinite duration,^ on the other ' 

1 Kath. 2. 14. « Brih. 4. 4. 15, K&th. 4. 5. 12. 13. 

» S'vet. 6. 5. * Brih. 3. 8. « Tim. 37 D seq, 

^ Smaller than a grain of rice, etc., Ch&nd. 3. 14. 3 ; smallest of the smaU, 
KiUh. 2. 20 ; of the size of a needle's point or the ten -thousandth part of the 
tip of a hair, S'vet. 5. 8-9. 

' anAdi^ amntam, Kdth. 3. 15, S'vet. 5. 13 ; tandtana, K&th. 5. 6, 
Kaivalya 8, etc. 


as an infinitely small moment, as it is sjonbolieally repre- 
sented in consciousness by the instantaneous duration of 
the lightning, or of the flash of thought. This is so as 
early as Vfij. Samh. 32. 2. The principal passage is 
Kena 29-30 : — " Concerning it this explanation is given. 
That which in the lightning makes it lighten, and men 
cry * ah ' and shut their eyes, — this, that men cry * ah ' (is 
its explanation) in relation to the godhead. Now in 
relation to the self. When something enters as it were 
into the soul, so that thereby a man is reminded of some- 
thing in an instant, this idea (is its explanation)." 
Further descriptions of Brahman as lightning are found in 
Brih. 2. 3. 6, 5. 7. 1, Mah&n. 1. 8. Taken together, their 
aim is to lay stress upon his instantaneousness in time, 
that is in figurative language his timelessness. 

(3) Brahman is independent of causality. Causality 
is nothing else than the universal rule according to which 
all changes in the world proceed. Where there is no 
change there is no causality. It amounts therefore to an 
assertion of Brahman's independence of causality when, as 
early as the most ancient Upanishad texts, although they 
are not yet able to grasp the conception of causality in the 
abstract, all change is denied of Brahman. This is the 
case when, in Brih. 3. 8, Brahman is celebrated as " the 
imperishable" {aksharam). Only of this is knowledge 
possible, as Plato also teaches, while of all that is subject 
to the flux of becoming there is merely ho^a, to use Plato's 
word, or ignorance, as it is said in S'vet. 5. 1.^ The 
absolute changelessness {i.e. independence of causality) of 
Brahman is very definitely expressed in passages like Brih. 
4. 4. 20 :— 

As unity we must regard him. 
Imperishable, unchanging, 
Eternal, not becomiug, not ageing 
Exalted above space, the great self. 

> Icsharam tu avidyd hi, amfiJtam tu vidyd. 


That no becoming touches the essential reality of things is 
taught by Ch&nd. 6. 1. 3 : — "Change (vikdra) is a mere 
matter of words, nothing but a name." And in Kiith. 2./ 
14 Brahman is sought for as one that is — 

Independent of good and evil, 
Independent of becoming and not-becoming, 
Independent of past and future, 
That thou seest to be such, declare. 

And of the " seer" {i.e. Brahman as the knowing subject) 
it is said in Kath. 2. 18 : — 

The seer is not bom, and does not die, 

Springs not from any, nor becomes any; 

From everlasting he abides for ever the ancient one, 

He does not perish, for it iis the body that perishes. 

An emphatic repudiation of becoming is contained in a 
passage that has been misunderstood by both Indian and 
European commentators, Is'fi, 12-14 : — 

Into dense darkness he enters 

Who has conceived becoming to be naught, 

Into yet denser he 

Who has conceived becoming to be aught. 

Different is it from coming into being, 
Different also from not coming into being ; 
Thus have we from the ancient seers ' 
Received the doctrine. 

He who knows (as non-existent) 
Both becoming and not-becoming, 
He passes through both 
Beyond death, and has immortality. 

That by samhMti and asambhUti here must be understood 
the coming into being and passing away (in place of the 
opposition of contraries is put that of contradictories) is 
confirmed by Gaudapada also : — 

By combating the samhhUH^ 

A coming into being is repelled ; 

"Who could bring him forth?" 

This saying* shows him to be causeless.* 

1 Isu 12. s Bj-ih. 3. 9. 28. « MaJtidakya-K&rik& 3. 2o 


The same thought is elsewhere developed in detail/ that 
the relations of cause and effect {kdranam and kdryam), 
source and result {hetu and phalani), perceived and per- 
ceiving, are unthinkable of the self-existent (Brahman). 
' The result of all the investigations of the present 
chapter is to show that in his essential nature Brahman 
is and remains completely unknowable. Neither as the 
(metaphysical) being {sat)y nor as the knowing subject 
within us (c'it), nor as the bliss (dnanda) that holds sway 
in deep sleep when the opposition of subject and object 
is destroyed, is Brahman accessible to knowledge. No 
characterisation of him therefore is possible otherwise than 
by the denial to him of all empirical attributes, definitions 
and relations, — neti, neti, "it is not so, it is not so." 
Especially is he independent, as we have shown, of all 
limitations of space, time and cause, which rule all that is 
objectively presented, and therefore the entire empirical 

This conclusion is already implied in the first sentence 
with which Indian philosophy begins in the Rigveda, — in 
I the thought, namely, of the essential unity of things. For 
•this unity excludes all plurality, and therefore all proximity 
in space, all succession in time, all interdependence as cause 
and effect, and all opposition as subject and object. 

In another connection* passages have been already 
discussed which assert the absolute unknowableness of 
Brahman. Here we append to them merely a beautiful 
story which S ankara* reports as s'ruti, and which therefore 
he derived possibly from a lost or still unrecognised 

When BS,hva was questioned by V&shkali, he expounded 
the nature of Brahman to him by maintaining silence, as 
the story relates. " And he said, ' Teach me, most reverent 

1 Mft9dakya-Kftrik& 4. 11-31. * Supra, p. 79 ft 

* On Brahinasatra, 3. 2. 17. 


sir, the nature of Brahman.' The other however remained 
silent. But when the question was put for the second or 
third time he answered, * I teach you indeed, but you do 
not understand ; this fttman is silence.' " 

V. Brahman and the Univbrsb 

1. Sole Reality of Brahman 

Brahman is the &tman, " the self," is that in men and 
in all the objects of the universe which remains over when 
we abstract from them everything in them that is not-self, 
alien or diflFerent. There is however in the whole universe, 
aUke in heaven and on earth, nothing besides the &tman : 
— ''Thttv IB BO aaoood outaiffe o£ Jum, no other distinct 
£E0ai'ilinL''^ "There is here no plurality at all,"* and 
consequently there can be no question of anything existing 
outside of the fitman, of a universe in the proper sense of 
the term. With the knowledge of the fitman ther^ore 
everything is known : — " In truth, he who has seen, hewdf 
comprehended and known the &tman, by him is this entire 
universe known," * just as with the sounding of the drum, 
the conch-horn or the lyre, all the notes, as it were, of 
these instruments are already coincidently sounded.* The 
doctrine of the S,tman is that very instruction, which was 
asked for in Ch4nd. 6. 1. 2 : — " by which (even) the 
unheard becomes (already) heard, the uncomprehended 
comprehended, the unknown known " ; the fttman is 
" that with the knowledge of which this entire universe 
becomes known." ^ As from a lump of clay all that 
consists of clay is known, from an ingot of copper all 
that consists of copper, from a pair of nail-scissors all 

« na iha ii&iid asii kiiic'ana, Brih. 4. 4. 19, Kdlh. 4. 10-11. 

» Brih. 2. 4. 6. * Brih. 2. 4. 7-9. « Mu^id. 1. 1. 3. 


that consists of iron, — " the change is a mere matter of 
words, nothing but a name," — so with the knowledge of 
the atman all is known. ^ The distinguishing essence of 
rthe fire, the sun, the moon and the lightning has vanished, 
the change is a mere matter of words, nothing but a 
name.^ This was recognised by the ancient seers when they 
said : — " No longer now can anyone bring before us any- 
thing which we have not (already) heard, understood and 
known."* Therefore for him who knows the &tman the 
unknown is only "as it were" (iva) unknown ;* there is 
only " as it were " a duality,* " as it were " another ,• " as it 
were " a plurality,^ and it happens only ** as it were " that 
the &tman imagines an object or is moved towards it.® 
Strictly speaking, such an " as it were " or iva should be 
supplied to every page and every line in which the 
Upanishads are concerned with something other than the 
fi,tman. It is however very easily understood that this 
is not always done. And just as Parmenides and Plato, 
without thereby involving themselves in self-contradiction, 
regard the very universe, whose reality they deny, from 
that standpoint of experience which is natural to us all as 
though it were real ; so we are not to discover a contradic- 
tion when the teachers of the Upanishads occasionally 
regard and treat the universe as real from the standpoint 
of realism, of avidyd, where indeed we all begin and on 
which all practical living is based, so long as in the back- 
ground of consciousness the conviction remains unmoved 
of the sole reality of the fitman, and thence determines, 
even if only tacitly, all the thoughts. Probably however 
a contradiction was introduced when and in proportion as 
the realistic_view implanted in us all by the nature of our 

» Chand. G. 1. 3-5. « Chand. 6. 4. 1-4. « Chftnd. 6. 4. 6. 

* Clmiid. 6. 4. 7. * dvaitam iva, Brili. 2. 4. 14. « Brih. 4. 3. 31. 

' ndiid iva, Brih. 4. 4. 19, Katli. 4. 10, 11. 
^ dhydyaii iva, leldyaii iva, Bf ih. 4. 3. 7. 


intellect so completely gained the upper hand that the 
fundamental conception of the Vedanta of the sole reality 
of the &tman became obscured by it. Wherever this 
occurs in the Upanishads the original standpoint of the 
Ved&nt a is abandoned, and another standpoint prevails, 
that of the later Sankhya system^ whose primary origin 
we shall have to look for in that realistic tendency of the 
mental constitution of man which can never be entirely 
suppressed, and whose origin and gradual accession of 
strength within the sphere of the Upanishad doctrine itself 
we shall have to consider and trace out in a later connection. 
For the moment however we turn aside from this, and 
hold fast to the pure and original Upanishad doctrine, 
that it is the standpoint of avidyd which we take up 
when we proceed now to consider Brahman in his 
relations to the universe, (1) as the cosmical principle, 
(2) as the psychical principle, and (3) as a personal god 

2. Brahman as the Cosmical Principle 

The relation of the first principle of things to created 
nature, or to use popular language, of God to the universe, 
is a problem which can never be completely solved, for a 
solution is excluded by the constitution of our intellectual 
powers. In proportion as we attempt to understand that 
relation — that is, to conceive it under the categories of 
our intellect, space, time and causality — we fall into an 
erroneous, or to put it more mildly into a figurative 
representation of the facts ; and in proportion as we 
endeavour to rise above a mere figurative representation 
we are compelled to relinquish a real imderstanding. 
Four stages may be distinguished in the comprehension 
of that problem, which we may describe, at first in general 
and with reservation of their special application to India, 
as realism, theism, pantheism and idealism. 


(1) Realism. — Matter exists independently of God, 
and from eternity. God is degraded to a mere world- 

i fashioner {Srjfiiovpyo^), or, so far as creative power is 
transferred to matter itself, is altogether set aside, as in 
the S&nkhya. 

(2) Tlieism. — God creates the universe out of nothing, 
and the latter then has a real existence independently of 
God. This is the standpoint of the Old Testament. As 
soon as the attempt is seriously made to grasp the relation 
of God to the universe, in proportion as this takes place 
God becomes more and more entangled in the universe, 
until He is completely merged in it and disappears. 
Theism degenerates into pantheism, which is its necessary 
consequence. The later philosophy furnishes an example. 
After Descartes had attempted to formulate in logical 
terms the theism of the Middle Ages which was based 
on the Old Testament, we see how, under the hands of 
his successors Geulincx and Malebranche, God is more 
and more absorbed into the universe until finally He 
becomes completely identified with it. The same thing 
occurs in the pantheism of Spinoza. It is remarkable 
that this decisive refutation of that Biblical view of the 
universe which originated from Judaism and was adopted 
in the Middle Ages was effected by a Jew. 

(3) Pantheism. — God creates the universe by trans- 
forming himself into the universe. The latter confessedly 
has become God. Since it is real and also infinite, there 
is no room for God independently of the universe, but 
only within it. The terms God and universe become 
synonjnnous, and the idea of God is only retained in 
order not to break with tradition. 

I (4) Idealism. — God alone and nothing besides him 
is real. The universe as regards its extension in space 
and bodily consistence is in truth not real ; it is mere 
illusion, as used to be said, mere appearance, as we say 


to-day. This appearance is not God as in pantheism, , 
but the reflection of God, and is an aberration from the 
divine essence. Not as though God were to be sought 
on the other side of the universe, for he is not at all 
in space ; nor as though he were before or after, for 
he is not at all in time ; nor as though he were the 
cause of the universe, for the law of causality has no 
application here. Rather, to the extent to which the 
universe is regarded as real, God is without reality. 
That he is real, nay the sole reality, we perceive 
only so far as we succeed in shaking ourselves free 
theoretically and practically from this entire world of 

All these stages are represented in the teaching of 
the Upanishads, and thus it presents a very varied 
colouring of idealistic, pantheistic or theistic shades 
without becoming contradictory in the proper sense of 
the term. For the fundamental thought, that is held 
fast at least as a principle at all stages, even at the 
lowest which maintains the independent existence of 
matter, is the conviction of the sole reality of the &tman ; 
only that side by side with and in spite of this conviction 
more or less far-reaching concessions were made to the 
empirical consciousness of the reality of the universe, 
that could never be entirely cast off; and thus the 
universe disowned by the fundamental idealistic view of 
the sole reality of the &tman was yet again partially 
rehabilitated. This was effected either by regarding it 
pantheistically as an apparition of the only real &tman, 
or theistically as created by and out of the fitman, but 
yet contrasted with it as separate, or realistically as, 
prakriti occupying from the very beginning an inde- 
pendent position by the side of the puncsha, although 
in a certain sense dependent on the latter. Of the 
theistic conception, and the realistic that paved the way 


for the S&nkhya, both of which make their appearance 
only occasionally, we shall have to speak in a later 
connection. Here we propose in the first instance to 
• enter upon the fundamental idealistic view, in order to 
show how by accommodation to the empirical conscious- 
•ness, which regards the universe as real, it passes over 
into the pantheistic doctrine, which is the prevailing one 
iin the Upanishads. 

Strongly idealistic, and at the same time expressing 
most clearly the peculiar spirit of the Upanishad teaching, 
are the passages which declare that with the knowledge 
of the &tman all is known^and which accordingly deny 
i a universe of plurality^* But with this thought a height 
was reached on which a prolonged stay was impracticable. 
Passages therefore of this kind are comparatively rare. 
The universe was still something existing ; it lay there 
before their eyes. It was necessary to endeavour to find 
a way back to it. This was accomplished without 
f abandoning the fundamental idealistic principle, by 
conceding the reality of the manifold universe, but at 
the same time maintaining that this manifold universe 
'is in reality Brahman.* Idealism therefore entered into 
alliance with the realistic view natural to us, and became 
thereby pantheism. This was the case already in the 
definition of Brahman as satyasya satyarriy " the reality 
of reality."* The universe is reality (satyam), but the 
real in it is Brahman alone. The same is true when in 
Ch&nd, 6. 1 f. the rise of the manifold universe from the 
sole existing one is traced in a realistic manner, ac- 
companied by the repeated assurance that all these 
changes are " dependent on words, a mere name." With 

1 Brih. 2. 4. 5, Ch&nd. 6. 1. 2, Mu^d. 1. 1. 3. 

*na%ha ndnd asti kifu^ana, Brih. 4. 4. 19, Kdth. 4. 10-11. 

* jofTom hhalu idcvm brahma^ Ch&nd. 3. 14. 1. 

* Brih. 2. 1. 20. 


this are connected the numerous passages which celebrate 
Brahman as the active principle through the entire 
universe: — "He is all-effecting, all- wishing, all-smelling, 
all-tasting, embracing all, silent, untroubled."^ "The 
4tman is beneath and above, in the west and in the 
east, in the south and in the north ; the atman is this 
entire universe."^ The sun rises from him, and sets ' 
again in him." All the regions of the sky are his j 
organs,* the four quarters of the universe (east, west, I 
south, north), the four divisions of the universe (earth, 
air, sky, ocean), the four lights of the universe (fire, sun, 
moon, lightning), and the four vital breaths (breath, eye, 
ear, manas), are his sixteen parts.^ 

Fire is his head, his eyes sun and moon. 

His ears the regions of the sky, 

The revealed Veda is his voice, 

The wind his breath, the universe his heart, from his feet is the 

He is the inmost self in aU things.* 

In what manner however is the relation of Brahman 
to this his evolution as the manifold universe to be con- 
ceived? We should say : — ^As identity, in this following the 
later Ved&nta, which appeals to the word used to express 
attachment.^ But this word is a mere makeshift ; there 
is still always a broad distinction between the one 
Brahman and the multiplicity of his appearances, nor 
were ancient thinkers or indeed any thinkers before 
Kant able to rise to the conception that the entire 
unfolding in space and time was a merely subjective 
phenomenon. Here a further concession must be made 
to the empirical consciousness^ tied down as it is to space, 

» Chand. 3. 14. 2. « Chand. 7. 26. 2 ; imitated in Mu^id. 2. 2. 11. 

' Brih. 1. 5. 23, K&th. 4. 9, and similarly as early as Atharvav. X. 8. 16. 
* Brih. 4. 2. 4. « Chfind. 4. 4-0. « Mu^id. 2. 1. 4. 

^ Ch&nd. 6. 1. 3 ; Siitra 2. 1. 14, tad-ancmycUvamj drambhamo't^abda' 


time and causality. Brahman was regarded as the cause 
antecedent in time, and the universe as the effect pro- 
ceeding from it; the inner dependence of the universe 
on Brahman and its essential identity with him was 
represented as a creation of the universe by and out 
of Brahman. We find ourselves at a point where we 
apprehend the creation theories of the Upanishads, 
unintelligible as they are from the standpoint of its 
idealism, from an unconscious accommodation to the 
forms of our intellectual capacity. The further elabora- 
tion of the doctrine of the creation of the universe will 
occupy us in the chapter on the Cosmology. Here only 
a few passages need be quoted, which set before us the 
essential identity of the created universe with the creator. 
" Just as the spider by means of its threads goes forth 
from itself (tantund uc*c*aret\ as from the fire the tiny 
sparks fly out, so from this &tman aU the spirits of life 
spring forth, all worlds, all gods, all living beings." V- 
The illustrations of the spider and the fire are further 
elaborated in Mund. 1. 1. 7 and 2. 1. 1 : — 

Ab a spider ejects and retracts (the threads). 

As the plants shoot forth on the earth, 

As the hairs on the head and body of the Hying man. 

So from the imperishable aU that is here. 

As the sparks from the well-kindled fire. 

In nature akin to it, tspring forth in their thousands ; 

So, my dear sir, from the imperishable 

Living beings of many kinds go forth, 

And again return into him. 

That the material substance of things also is derived 
solely from Brahman is taught in connection with the 
illustration of the spider in S'vet. 6. 10, where Brahman 
is described as the god " who spiderlike by threads which 
proceed from him as material {pradhdnam) concealed 

1 Brih. s. 1. 80. 


his real nature." The last words mean that Brahman, by 
not (in a theistic sense) bringing objects forth from him- 
self, but (in a pantheistic sense) changing himself into the 
objects, " has concealed his real nature " (svtxbhdvato . . . 
svam dvrinot). In this sense it is said as early as Rigveda I 
X. 81. 1 that Vis'vakarman by his entrance into the lower ! 
world was " concealing his original state " (prathamachad). I 
Similarly Brih. 1. 4. 7 declares that the fitman has j 
" entered " into this universe " up to the finger-tips, as a 
knife is hidden in its sheath, or the all-sustaining fire 
in the fire-preserving (wood). Therefore is he not seen ; 
for he is divided; as breathing he is named breath, as 
speaking speech, as seeing eye," etc. According to Brih. 
1. 6. 3, the &tman is amritam satyena c'hannam^ " the 
inamortal, concealed by (empirical) reality " ; and in Byih. 
2.^ 4. 12 it is said : — " It is with him as with a lump of 
salt, which thrown into the water is lost in the water, so 
that it is not possible to take it out again ; whence how- 
ever we may always draw, it is salt throughout." The 
same thought is developed, perhaps on the basis of this 
passage in the narrative of Chand. 6. 13. That objection 
was taken to such a method of representation is shown by 
the parallel passage Brih. 4. 5. 13, where the words quoted 
above from Brih. 2. 4. 12 are altered as follows : — " It is 
with him as with a lump of salt, which has no (distinguish- 
able) inner or outer, but throughout consists entirely of 
taste," etc. In a similar way efforts are made in other 
passages to show that Brahman by his transformation into : 
the universe has forfeited nothing of the perfection of his \ 
own nature. As early as Rigveda X. 90. 3 it is said that 
all beings are only a fourth of the purusha, while the three 
other fourths remain immortal in heaven. The same 
teaching is found in Chand. 3. 12. 6, the verse from the 
Rigveda being repeated, and similarly in the concluding 
verse Maitr. 7. 11 ; while according to Byih. 5. 14, one 


foot of Brahman (under the figure of the Gayatrt) consists 
of the three worlds, the second of the triple knowledge of 
the Veda, the third of the three vital breaths, while the 
fourth exalted above the dust of earth shines as the sun. 
Still more clearly is it taught already in S'atap. Br. 11. 
1 2. 3 that Brahman, after having created the three worlds 
'with that which lies above and beyond them, himself 
entered "into that half beyond." The infinite nature 
of Brahman is also taught in harmony with Atharvav. 
X. 8. 29 by the verse Brih. 5. 1 :— 

Though a man journey from the perfect to the perfect 
Yet that which is perfect yet remains over and above all. 

The same theme is elaborated in greater detail in the 
beautiful verses of K§.th. 5. 9-11 : — 

The light, as one, penetrates into space, 

And yet adapts itself to every form ; 

So the inmost self of aU beings dwells 

Enwrapped in every form, and yet remains outside. 

The air, as one, penetrates into space. 

And yet adapts itseU to every form ; 

So the inmost self of all beings dwells 

Enwrapped in every form, and yet remains outside. 

The sun, the eye of the whole universe, 

Remains pure from the defects of eyes external to it; 

So the inmost self of aU beings remains 

Pure from the sufferings of the external worlds. 

3. Brahman as the Psychical Principle 

Brahman is the atman. The first principle of all 
things is not, as might be imagined, in part only, but un- 
divided, completely and as a whole present in that which 
I with true insight find within me as my own self, my ego, 
my soul. Of the value of this thought which governs all 
the speculations of the Upanishads we have formed an 


estimate in the Introduction.^ Here we propose to select 
from the large number of passages which give expression 
to it only so many as are necessary in order to show that 
this thought also, precisely as that of Brahman as first 
principle of the universe, is in its original purpose ideal- 
istic, that is, denies the multiplicity of the universe around . 
us ; but that it receives a gradually increasing realistic | 
colouring in proportion as we endeavour to conceive it under 
the forms of our knowledge, adapted as these are to realism. 
Yajnavalkhya begins his instruction of Maitreyl in 
Bjih. 2. _ 4 with the words : — " In truth, not for the 
husband's sake is the husband dear, but for the sake of 
the self (the soul, dtman) is the husband dear." Similarly 
all the objects of the world, — wife, sons and possessions, 
the estate of a Brahman or a warrior, worlds, gods, living 
beings and the entire universe are dear to us not in them- 
selves or for their own sake, but only for the sake of our 
own sell How this is to be understood is shown by the 
conclusion which immediately follows, and which is inferred 
from it : — " The self, in truth, should be seen, heard, com- 
prehended and reflected on, Maitreyl ; in truth, he who 
has seen, heard, comprehended and known the self, by 
him this entire universe is known." This implies that all 
reality is and remains limited to our own self, and that 
we know love and possess all things in the universe only 
so far as they subsist in our consciousness, as they are 
grasped and entertained by our knowing self; there is no 
universe outside of the atman, our self, our soul. This 
is the standpoint of complete idealism, which denies the 
reality of the manifold universe, as it is further expounded 
by passages like Brih. 2. 1. 16 and 20, where it is taught 
that all worlds, gods and living creatures spring from the 
spirit consisting of knowledge (vijndnamaya purusha) like 
sparks from the fire ; or, as in Brih. 3. 4 and 3. 5, where 

1 Sap, p. 39 f. 


inquiry is made for the " Brahman that is within all as soul," 
and the answer is given : — " It is thy soul, that is within 
all," which as the knowing subject remains unknowable ^ 
and with the consciousness of which the whole universe, 
all children, possessions and wisdom vanish into the 
nothingness which they really are.* In the latter passage 
an inclination is already revealed towards the realism 
which is natural to us all, inasmuch as the existence of the 
external world is not denied ; the objects are there, but 
as far as their essential nature is concerned they are 

' nothing but the 4tman alone. Similarly in the important 
and well-known passage Cb&nd. 6. 8-16, where a series of 
mysterious phenomena and relations of nature and life are 
traced back to their unknowable original source, and of 
this it is then said in a nine-times repreated refrain : — 
" What that subtle being (that unknowable, animan) is, 
of which this whole universe is composed, that is the real, 
that is the soul, that art thou, S'vetaketu ! " 

This doctrine of the sole reality of the fttman, the soul 
in us, is in opposition to our innate and invincible convic- 
tion of the reality of the external world that surrounds us, 
and this opposition is intentionally brought into relief in 
a large number of passages, which with great boldness of 
metaphysical insight identify the soul in us as the incon- 
ceivably small with nature without us as the inconceivably 
great. " He is all-eflfecting, all- wishing, all-smelling, all- 
tasting, embracing all, silent, untroubled ; — this is my 

, soul in my heart, smaller than a grain of rice or barley, or 
a mustard seed, than a grain or the kernel of a grain of 
millet ; this is my soul in my heart, greater than the 
earth, greater than the atmosphere, greater than the 
heaven, greater than these worlds.",^ " In truth, great 
as is this world-space, so great is this space within the 
heart ; in it are contained both the heaven and the earth ; 

1 Brih. 3. 4. 2 Bpih. 3. 6. » Chdnd. 3. 14. 2. 


both fire and wind, both sun and moon, both lightning 
and stars, and whatever is possessed or not possessed in 
this life, all that is therein contained." ^ " Now however 
the light which shines there beyond the heaven behind all 
things, behind each, in the highest worlds, the highest of 
all, that is assuredly this light which is here within in 
men."* The soul, as these passages teach, embraces the 
universe ; it is moreover as it were all - pervading, the 
antarydmin^ the " inner guide " in everything : — " He 
who dwelling in the earth is distinct from the earth, 
whom the earth knows not, whose body the earth is, who 
rules the earth from within, he is thy soul, the inner 
guide, the immortal."' This speculation is then further 
extended to several cosmical and psychical relations, and 
it is said in conclusion : — *' He sees but is not seen, hears 
but is not heard, comprehends but is not comprehended, 
knows but is not known. There is no seer beside him, 
no hearer beside him, no comprehender beside him, no 
knower beside him. He is thy soul, the inner guide, 
the immortal. All that is distinct from him is liable to 
suflFering." According to this, the antarydmin, i.e. the I 
power that dwells and rules in everything, is in its essence 
consciousness ; for, as is stated in Ait. 3. 3, all gods, all 
substances and all organic beings, " all this is guided by 
consciousness, based upon consciousness ; by consciousness 
the universe is guided, consciousness is its foundation, 
consciousness is Brahman." 

Although according to this and many other passages 
the first principle of the universe dwells within us as 
consciousness or the knowing subject, yet its seat is not 
in the head but in the heart. " In truth, this great 
unborn self is that among the vital organs which consists 
of knowledge (vijndnamaya). Here within the heart is a 
cavity, therein he resides who is the lord of the universe, 

1 Chftnd. 8. 1. 3. » Chand. 3 13. 7. • Bfih. 3 7. 3. 


the governor of the universe, the chief of the universe ; he 
is not exalted by good works, he is not degraded by evil 
works ; he is the lord of the universe, he is the governor 
of living beings, he is the protector of living beings; 
he is the bridge which holds asunder these worlds, and 
prevents them from clashing together/'^ Kaush. 3. 8 
may perhaps be derived from this passage : — " He is 
the protector of the universe, he is the governor of the 
universe, he is the lord of the worlds ; and this is my soul, 
that ought men to know." Similarly numerous passages 
in the later Upanishads celebrate Brahman as " implanted 
in the cavity of the heart." * The identity of the atman 
in us with the fttman of the universe is expressed by the 
tat tvam asi of Ch&nd.. 6. 8-16, and also by the etad vai 
tody " in truth this is that," of Brih. 5. 4, which is prob- 
\ ably an imitation of the other. The same formula is 
found twelve times in K&th. 4. 3-6. 1 in a prose passage 
appended to the verses. The highest bliss, according to 
KS,th. 5. 14, consists in the consciousness of this thought. 
We quote in this connection only KS^th. 4. 12-13 : — 

An inch in height, here in the body 
The purusha dwells. 
Lord of the past and the future; 
He who knows him frets no more, — 
In truth, this is that. 

Like flame without smoke, an inch in height 
The purusha is in size, 
Lord of the past and the future ; 
It is he to-day and also to-morrow, — 
In truth, this is that. 

As here the purusha is compared to a smokeless flame, 
so in imitation of this passage, in Svet. 6. 19, it is 

' Brih. 4. 4. 22 ; an indirect reference to Brih. 3. 8. 9. 
* nihito guhdydm, first in Taitt. 2. 1 ; then kdth. 1. 14, 2. 20, 3. 1, 4. 6-7 ; 
Mu^id. 2. 1. 10, 3. 1. 7, etc. 


likened to a fire whose fuel is consumed ; * while in S Vet. 
5. 9 the contrast between the &tman within us and the 
&tman in the universe is pushed to an extreme : — * 

Split a hundred times the tip of a hair, 
And take a hundredth part thereof ; 
That I judge to be the size of the soul, 
Yet it goes to immortality. 

The description of the fttman as a smokeless flame in the 
heart has been developed in the Yoga Upanishads into 
the picture of the tongue of flame in the heart, the earliest 
occurrence of which is perhaps Mah&n. 11. 6-12." 

We saw above how the doctrine of Brahman as the 
cosmical principle was represented in accommodation to 
the empirical mode of thought as a creation of the 
universe in time by Brahman as its first cause. The 
same spirit of acconmiodation lies at the basis of the 
form assumed by the doctrine of Brahman as the psychical 
principle, viz., that Brahman after having created the 
univei-se enters into it as the individual souL "This 
universe was at that time not unfolded ; but it unfolded 
itself in name arid form. . . . into it that (&tman) entered 
up to the finger - tips. . . . this therefore which here 
(within us) is the &tman is the trace (to be pursued) of 
the universe ; for in it the entire universe is known," etc.* 
The last words prove that the entrance of the soul, as 
described, into the universe which it has created is merely 
a metaphor designed to render intelligible the assumed 
identity of the soul with the first principle of the universe. 
It then however more and more stiffens into r.n actual 
realism, as the following passages show. " Into citadels 
he entered as a bird, into citadels as a citizen.*' ^ " So 

^ Similarly Maitr. 6. 34, Brahmavidy^ 9, Nrisimhott. 2. 

* Surpassed however in Dhyanab. 6. 

* cp. Brahmavidy& 10, Yogas'ikha 6, Yogatattva 9-11, Maitr. 6. 30. 

* Bn'h. 1. 4. 7. • Brih. 2. 5. 18. 



into these three divinities (the three elements) that 
divinity entered with this living self, and separated out 
from one another names and forms." ^ ** After he had 
practised self-mortification he created this entire universe, 
whatever exists ; after he had created it, he entered into 
it/'3- The same conception, even more realistically 
depicted, is found as early as Ait. 1. 11, 12 : — "And he 
considered, — In what way shall I enter into it? ... so 
he split the crown of the head, and entered through 
this gate." The later the realism is, the more pronounced 
it becomes. Maitr. 2. 6 may serve as an example: 
Prajapati created numerous creatures, "these he saw 
standing unconscious and lifeless like a stone, motionless 
like the trunk of a tree ; therefore he had no joy ; and he 
resolved, — I will enter into them, in order to awaken 
consciousness within them ; accordingly he made himself 
a wind, and determined to enter into them," etc. 

We see therefore the original idealism by reason of 
a progressive accommodation to the demands of our 
intellectual capacity harden into a realism, which in no 
respects falls behind the Semitic." 

4. Brahman as a personal God (tsvara) 

The attempt to clothe the fundamental idealistic con- 
ception which refuses to recognise a universe independent 
of the S,tman, and which lies at the foundation of the 
thought of the Upanishads, in intelligible, i.e. realistic 
forms, led at first, as we saw, to a pantheism which con- 
cedes to the empirical consciousness the reality of the 
universe, and at the same time asserts the sole existence 
of the atman by declaring that this entire universe is 
nothing else than the atman. This assertion was 
essentially dogmatic, and amounted to this, that the 
universe as a phendmenal form of the atman took up a 

I Ch&nd. 6. 3. 3 « Taitt. 2. 6. » Gen. 2^ 


position over -against the fttman itself as a second; 
although the endeavour was strenuously made to reconcile 
this contradiction by the reiterated assurance that the 
universe is identical with the atman, the infinitely great 
without us with the infinitely great within. A further / 
step in the same direction that tended towards realism is 
implied when the fitman as first principle is contrasted 
not only with the universe, whose outward form it has put 
on, but also with the fttman within us with which it is 
originally identical Thus is brought into existence the 
theismi which is found in some of the later Upanishads. It 
has not arisen fix)m the ancient Vedic polytheism, but first 
makes its appearance long after this has been superseded , 
by the &tman doctrine ; the &tman is not a " god," deva, \ 
in the ancient Vedic sense, but he is the " lord," tsvara. j 
The difference of the two modes of representation will 
become clear if we first gather together the most im- 
portant data with regard to the position of the ancient 
Vedic gods in the Upanishads. 

The existence of the ancient Vedic gods Indra, Agni, \ 
Varuna, etc. is as little denied by the Upanishads as that 
of the Greek by Xenophanes. But as by the latter all 
the other gods equally with men are subordinated to the 
one god (eU 0eo^ ev re Oeotat leal dpOpanroKri fiirfi<no^)^ so 
in the Upanishads all the ancient Vedic gods are created 
by the fttman and dependent on him. From the fttman / 
proceed, like the sparks from the fire, all worlds, all living 
beings, and no less all gods ; ^ on him all the gods depend ; * 
by him they were created as the guardians of the 
universe ; " " therefore when the people say of each separate 
god, * Sacrifice to this, sacrifice to that,' (it should be known 
that) this created universe proceeds from him alone ; he 
therefore is all the gods. This (creation) here is an over- 
plus of creation of Brahman. Beaiuse he created the 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 20. » K&th. 4. 9. • Ait. 1. 1. 3. 



gods higher (than he himself is), and because he as mortal 
created the inmiortals, therefore is it called the overplus 
of creation " (atisrishti)} It is further related,^ how the 
atman created the divine Kshatriyas (Indra, Varuna, Soma, 
etc.), Vaisyas (the Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, etc.), and 
Sudras (Pushan). According to Brih. 1. 3. 12-16, it is 
the organs of the prfijaa, viz. speech, smell, eye, ear, manas, 
which are by him led beyond the reach of death, and now 
continue to exist as the gods Agni, V&yu, Aditya, the 
heavenly regions and the moon. The number of the gods 
was in Vedic times usually given as thirty-three. The 
vague and arbitrary character of this reckoning Yajnaval- 
khya, in Brih. _3. 9. 1, brings home in the following way : — 
Why thirty-three? why not three hundred and three? 
or three thousand and three? or both together (3306)? 
and if we say thirty-three, it might just as well be reduced 
to six, or three, or two, or one and a half, or one, which is 
the pr^na. All these numbers, 3306, 33, 6, 3, 2, 1^, as 
the manifold forces, parts and organs of nature, come back 
finally to a unity, — " the pr&na, thus he said, this men call 
Brahman, the yonder {tyady The dependence of all 
these nature-gods on Brahman is described in the myth of 
Kena 14-28 : — Agni is unable to bum a blade of grass, 
YSlju is unable to blow away a wisp of straw, apart from 
the will of Brahman, which is effective in all the gods. 
Brahman dwells, according to Bpih. 3.,_i[, as the inner 
guide (antarydmin) in all parts of the universe, and no 
less in all the corresponding gods. All the gods pursue 
their tasks, according to a verse preserved in Taitt. 2. 8 
and K^th. 6. 3, " from fear " of Brahman ; and according 
to Kaush. 1. 5, even Indra and Praj&pati, the door- 
keepers of the heavenly world, are not able to prevent 
the entrance of the soul of him who knows Brahman, or 
to turn it back. And just as the power of the gods is 

1 Brih. 1. 4. 6. » Brih. 1. 4. 11-13. 


dependent on Brahman, so their knowledge also is im- 
perfect ; they are not in possession from the very beginning 
of the knowledge of Brahman.^ Accordingly in Chand. 
8. 7 £ they depute Indra to obtain from Prajapati the 
knowledge of the atman, and for the first time, after they 
have obtained it, they worship him in the world of 
Brahman as the self; thereupon they possess all worlds 
and all desires.* In this respect the gods have no 
advantage over men : — ** Whoever of the gods perceived 
this (* I am Brahman ') he became Brahman ; and 
similarly of the rishis, and similarly of men. . . . And 
to-day also, he who knows this * I am Brahman ' becomes 
this universe ; and even the gods have no power to 
prevent his so becoming ; for he is the soul {dtman) of 

These passages make clear the part which the gods 
play in the texts of the oldest Upanishads. It is quite 
a different matter however, not to be confused with 
the other, when individual gods appear occasionally as 
symbolical representatives of the- Atman, as for example 1 
Indra in Brih. 1. 5. 12, Ait. 1. 3. 14, Kaush. 2. 6, 3. 1, 
Varuna in Taitt. 3. 1, or Praj&pati in Ch&nd. 8. 7 £ 

The monotheism which meets us in some later Upani- 
shads has not been developed from this ancient Vedic 
polytheism, which still has its echoes in the Upanishads, 
but from entirely different premisses. The proof of this 
is furnished already by the external fact that the personal 
god of the Upanishads, usually and apart from exceptions,* 
is called not deva (god), but te', foa, is'dna, isvara (the 
lord), and in later times commonly paramesvara (the I 
supreme lord). As these names already show, we must 
look for the origin of the theism of the Upanishads in such 

1 cp. Brih. 1. 4. 10, 4. 3. 33, 5. 2. 1, Taitt. 2. 8, Kausb. 4. 20, KAth. 1. 21. 
« Ch&nd. 8. 12. 6. ^^rih. 1. 4. 10. 

* Such as K&th. 2. 12. 21, S'vet. 1. 8, and frequentijr. 


texts as celebrate the &tman as the " inner guide " 
(antarydmin) in all the parts and forces of nature and of 
mankind,* and which represent all effects in the universe 
as the result of his command (pi^asasanam), as in Brih. 
3., 8. 9: — "At the bidding of this imperishable one, 
Gfi^rgl, sun and moon are held asunder," etc. Here it is 
the "imperishable" (ahsharam, neuter) that is spoken of, 
which for the moment is poetically personified. This is 
not yet theism, but only the first step towards it. 
Similarly in Brih. 4^ 4. 22 : — " Here within the heart is 
^a cavity, therein he dwells, the lord of the universe, the 
governor of the universe, the chief of the universe ; he is 
not exalted by good works, he is not degraded by evil 
works ; he is the lord of the universe, he is the governor of 
living beings, he is the protector of living beings ; he is the 
bridge that holds asunder these worlds, and prevents them 
from clashing together." The same is the case with the 
temporary personification of Brahman as the refuge of love, 
the lord of love, the lord of brightness ; * and in the injunc- 
tion of ls'&. 1 also, " to sink in god " the universe {isd 
vdsyam idam sarvam) there is still no theism, for the god 
who is here referred to is, as the following verses show," 
the &tman within us. The doctrine of a personal god, 
and with it predestination, appears to be taught also in 
Kaush. 3. 8 : — " He is not exalted by good works nor 
degraded by evil works, but it is he who inspires to do 
good works the man whom he will lead on high out of 
these worlds, and it is he who inspires to do evil works the 
man whom he will lead downwards. He is the guardian 
of the universe, he is the ruler of the universe, he is the 
lord of the worlds, — and he is my soul (dtman), that ought 
man to know." As the last sentence shows, it is still 
man's own self again that determines him to good or evil, 
and accordingly there is still no theism. The latter first 

1 Brih. 3. 7. 3-23. « Chdnd. 4. 15. 2-4. • w. 6, 7. 


certainly appears, where the atman is contrasted not only / 
with the universe, but also with the self within us. This 
seems evidently to be the case first in the K&thaka 
Uganishadt-where in 3. 1 the supreme and the indTvidual 
self are distinguished as light and shadow ; and according 
to 2. 23 the knowledge of the 4tman depends upon a kind 
of free grace : — 

Only by the man whom he chooees is he comprehended, 
To him the &tman reveals his essence. 

Whether K&th. 2. 20 also is to be understood in a 
theistic sense depends upon whether we read dhdhc- 
prasdddd "by the repose of the elements," or dhdtuh 
jyrasdddd " by the grace of the creator " (having regard 
to the majesty of the &tman). On the recurrence of the . 
verse in S'vet. 3. 20 and Mah&n. 1.10 it is in any case to be 
interpreted in a theistic sense.^ 

We come next to the S VetSsvatara Upanishad, the ' 
leading example of the theistic teaching of the Upanishads, . 
in which God and the soul, though their original identity 
is not denied, are yet clearly distinguished from one 
another. Thus in S'vet. 4. 6, 7 it is said : — ^ 

Two bright-feathered bosom friends 

Flit around one and the same tree ; 

One of them tastes the sweet berries 

The other, without eating, merely gazes down. 

On such a tree the spirit, depressed. 
In its weakness mourns, a prey to illusion, 
Tet when it gazes worshipping on the might 
And majesty of the other, then its grief departs. 

These verses are repeated in the Mund Up. 3. L 1, 2, 
but since elsewhere this Upanishad breathes a pantheistic 
spirit, they are probably borrowed here from the theistic 
SVetas'vatara. But in the latter also traces of the 

^ cp. also SVet. 6. 18, dima-huddhi'TprasAdam. 
* Interpreting the verse Rigv. I. 164. 20. 


idealism that regards everything besides the S,tman as 
unreal, and of the pantheism that identifies the universe 
with the fi.tman, both of which were taken over from the 
, earlier Upanishads, continue to exist side by side with the 
' theism ; thereby making its representations often contra- 
dictory and philosophically unintelligible. This is the case 
when in 4. 10 the universe is declared to be mdyd (illusion) 
caused by the supreme god ; although with the reality of 
the universe the reality of god also in lost, and only the 
&tman within us survives as real. Or when in S vet. 1. 6 
the distinction of soul and god (the swan and the drover.) 
is explained to be illusory, and at the same time the 
removal of this illusion appears as a grace of the supreme 
god, who is thereby first contrasted with the soul as 
another. Hence it follows that the S Vetas'vatara is a 
work brimful of contradictions. It is like a codex bis 
palimpsestus. Beneath the characters of theism are 
discerned, half obliterated, those of pantheism, and under 
the latter again those of idealism. Just as in the later 
Vedanta, so already in SVet. 5. 5, 6. 4, 6. 11, 6, 12 the task 
of bringing works to maturity and apportioning their fruit 
to the souls is indicated as the chief function of ts'vara ; 
although to the Upanishad also this entire conception of the 
tsvara, as later in the Vedanta, proves to be merely exoteric, 
and is not to be derived with certainty from 3. 7. 

The theism of the S'vetas'vatara is adopted and 
further developed by the later Upanishads, which 
endeavour to establish a connection with the popular re- 
ligions by attaching the fttman of the Upanishad doctrine 
to the cult of S'iva (the beginning of which we may 
observe in the S'vet. Up.) or of Vishnu. But even in 
them the original idealism, which dissolves universe and 
god in the fttman, reveals itself. This is the case in 
Nrisimhottara-t&panlya Up. 1, where the "fourth" and 
highest state of the soul, the turtya, is distinguished from 


ite three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, and is 
represented as the abyss of the eternal unity, in which 
all distinctions of being and knowing vanish, the entire 
expanse of the universe is obliterated, ** and even ts'vara 
(the personal god) is swallowed up by the turtya (the 
fourth), by the turiyaJ' 



VI. Brahman as Creator op the Universe 

1. Introduction to the Cosmology 

f The sutras of Badar&yana define Brahman as that 

{janma-adi obsya yataJ itiy "whence is the origin, etc. (i.e. 

. the origin continuance and end) of this (universe)." This 
definition goes back in the first instance to Taitt. 3. 1 : — 
" That in truth out of which these creatures arise, whereby 
they having arisen live, and into which they at death 
return again, that seek thou to know, that is Brahman." 
It is to be noted however that in this passage of the 

I Upanishad there is no mention as in the sutra of an origin 
continuance and end of the universe as a whole, but_only 
of the individual beings. The case would be different 
with a still older passage, Ch&nd. 3. 14. 1, if we could 
follow S'ankara : — " Assuredly this universe is Brahman ; 
it should be worshipped in silence as TajjaldnJ' The 
word Tajjaldn is a mysterious name of the universe as 
identified with Brahman that occurs only here, and it is 
explained as follows by S'ankara on ChS,nd. 3. 14. 1 : — 
** From this {tad) Brahman by development into fire, water, 
earth, etc. the universe has arisen {jan)\ therefore it is 
called taj-ja. So on the reverse path to that by which 
it has arisen it disappears (It) into the very same 
Brahman, i.e. it is absorbed into his essence ; therefore is 



it called tal-la. And in the same way finally it is 
Brahman in whom the universe at the time of its origin 
breathes {an), lives and moves ; therefore is it called tad- 
anam. Therefore in the three periods (past, present and 
future) it is not distinct from the essential Brahman, since 
there is nothing which lies outside of and beyond these." ^ 
When Bohtlingk ^ declares this explanation of S'ankara to 
be ungrammatical, on the ground that updstta must have 
an object, and accordingly proposes to find the secret name 
in jaldn alone, he is met by the entirely analogous case 
of Kena 31, tadd ha tad-vanam ndmay tad-vanam ity 
updsita-vyam ; in other respects no alteration would be 
introduced. According to S'ankara s view therefore we 
should have before us already in the name tajjaldn 
( = tad'ja4a-an) a summarising of the three attributes ot 
Brahman as creator preserver and destroyer of the 
universe. Whether this is correct, whether in so ancient 
an Upanishad it is possible to assume abeady the doctrine 
of the destruction of the universe, and whether we ought 
not rather here also to think of a simple destruction of 
individual beings, will later on become a subject of 
investigation. Meanwhile we propose to an*ange our 
presentation of the cosmology according to these three 
attributes of Brahman, and accordingly to treat in order 
of Brahman as creator preserver and destroyer of the 
universe. When moreover S'ankara asserts in the passage 
quoted, and in many others, that the whole doctrine of the 
creation is not to be understood in a literal sense, but should 
be employed merely to teach the essential identity of the 
universe and Brahman, this also needs a fuller investigation 
and discussion of the question how far a creation of the uni- 
verse is possible from the standpoint of the 4tman doctrine. 

^ cp. the consistent explanation which S'ankara gives on Brahmastltra 
1. 2. 1, for which see p. 87 of my translation. 

« Berichie der SOchs, Oes. d. W., 1896, p. 169 f.; 1897, p. 88. 


2. The Creation of the Universe and the Doctrine 
of the Atman 

We have above in the first part of our work learnt to 
recognise a series of descriptions of the creation of the 
universe from the Hymns and Br&hmanas, and to point 
out as a feature common to many of them that (1) the 
original principle, (2) creates matter out of itself, and then 
(3) as first-born enters it. We propose in the first place 
briefly to survey here the chief passages that set forth this 

Rigv. X. 129: — In the beginning there is only 
'that one' {tad ekam). It exists as a dark undulation, 
shut in by a shell {apraketam salilam), out of 
which by tapas that one was first born as Kama or 
Manas (that is to say, according to the conception of 
vers. 4). 

Rigv. X. 121: — Praj&pati begets the primeval waters, 
and issues forth from them as golden germ {hiranya- 

Rigv. X. 81, 82 : — ^Vis'vakarman fashions the worlds 
sunk in the primeval slime, i.e. in the primeval waters, 
and then issues forth from these waters as the primeval 
germ that conceals all the gods. 

Rigv. X. 72 : — Brahmanaspati fashions the aditi 
{salHarriy uttdnapad, sad), and himself issues forth from 
it as Daksha. 

Rigv. X. 125 : — It is Vac' that at the beginning actuated 
the father of the universe, and then was again born in the 
waters of the sea, in order to distribute herself over living 

Rigv. X. 90: — From Purusha (as Adipurusha, Sfi.y.) 
is bom Vir&j, and from the latter again Purusha (as 
Ndrdyana, the " son of Purusha," or " son of the waters," 
i.e. Hiranyagarhhd). 


S'atap. Br. 6. 1. 1 : — Purusha Prajapati creates the 
waters, enters into them as an egg in order to 
be born from them, and issues forth from them as 

Atharvav. 11. 4: — Pr&na begets the universe, and 
issues forth from it as first-born (as apdm garhha, 
V. 26). 

Atharvav. 10. 7. 7, 8 : — Skambha, in whom Praj&pati 
sustained and nourished the whole universe, entered into 
the universe with a part of himself. 

Taitt. Ar. 1. 23 : — Praj§,pati, building up the worlds, 
entered as first-born of the creation with his own self into 
his own self. 

VSj. Sariih. 34. 1-6 : — The mind (manas) includes all 
things in itself, and dwells in men as immortal light. 

The motive of the conception that dominates all these 
paasages may be described to be the recognition of the 
first principle of the universe as embodied in nature as 
a whole, but especially and most of all in the soul (the 
universal and the individual soul). Hence the idea arose 
that the primeval being created the universe, and then 
as the first born of the creation entered into it. This 
traditional view we shall find appearing frequently even 
in the Upanishads. 

In what way however is this possible, since the entire 
doctrine of the creation of the universe and of the entrance 
of the creator into the universe that he has created is in 
contradiction to the A,tman doctrine of the Upanishads, 
strictly interpreted ? 

The assertion is frequently made by the Upanishads, 
as we saw, — and this is involved in the very conception of 
the atman, — that the S,tman is the sole reality, that there 
can be nothing beside it, and therefore with the knowledge 
of the atman all is known. From this point of view no 
creation of the universe by the fttman can be taught, for 




. there is no universe outside of the Atman. But the lofbi- 
;ness of this metaphysical conception forbade its main- 
tenance in the presence of the empirical consciousness 
, which teaches the existence of a real universe. It was 
necessary to concede the reality of the universe, and- 
to reconcile with this the idealistic dogma of the sole 
reality of the S^tman by asserting that the universe 
exists, but is in truth nothing but the fi,tman. Even 
from this standpoint, which declares the identity of 
the fi.tman and the universe, no doctrine of the creation 
of the universe was possible. It was only by making a 
further concession to the empirical consciousness, and 
maintaining no more than an actual identity of the 
atman and the universe, never carried out in detail, but 
^framed on a causal relation between the &tman as first 
I cause and the universe as its effect, — it was only then 
I possible and necessary to formulate a theory to explain 
' how the universe as effect had proceeded from or been 
created by the &tman. This step involved a further 
inevitable consequence. According to the creation 
doctrine the universe had come forth from the fitman as 
another distinct from it. It was necessary to secure its 
return into the atman if the original fundamental doctrine 
of the sole reality of the fttman were not to be absolutely 
rejected. This motive gave rise to the doctrine that the 
atman as soul (universal and individual soul) had entered 
into the universe that it had created, as we find the doctrine 
set forth in the Upanishads. It was then possible for the 
authors of the Upanishads side by side with their funda- 
mental idealistic view to maintain in a modified and more 
developed form the traditional doctrine of the Rigveda, 
according to which the first principle creates the material 
universe and then as first-born enters into it. When 
therefore the professors of the Vedanta, B&dar&yana,* 

1 Sfttra 2. 1. 14. 


Gaudap&da/ and Sankara,* maintain that the sacred 
writings teach a creation of the universe only by way of 
concession to man's faculty of understanding, their asser- 
tion is not to be entirely rejected. It needs to be modified 
only in the one point that this is not a conscious but an 
unconscious concession made to the empirical view that 
demands a real universe held together by causal connec- 
tions of space and time ; and with this limitation even the 
Upanishads, in spite of their fttman doctrine that denies 
the existence of the universe, teach its creation by the 
Stman and the latter's entrance into it, as the following 
passages show : — 

Brih. 1. 4. 7 : — " The universe before us was once not 
unfolded ; it was then unfolded in name and form ; . . . that 
Stman has entered into it up to the finger-tips, as a knife 
is hidden in a sheath, the all-sustaining (fire) in the fire- 
preserving (wood)." 

ChS-nd. 6. 2, 3 : — " Alone existing, my dear sir, was 
this in the beginning, one only without a second. ... It 
proposed: — I will become many, will propagate myself; 
thereupon it created the heat." From heat water 
proceeds, from water food {i.e. the earth). " That divinity 
proposed : — I will now enter into these three divinities 
(heat water and food) with this living self (the individual 
soul), and unfold thence name and form." 

Taitt. 2. 6: — "He (the &tman) desired: — I will 
become many, will propagate myself. Accordingly he 
practised self - mortification. After having practised 
self - mortification he created the entire universe, 
whatever exists. After having created it, he entered 
into it." 

Ait. 1. 1: — "In the beginning this universe was the 
atman alone ; there was nothing else there to strike the 

1 MRiulAkya-kririkii I. 18, 3. 16. 

* On Braliinapiitra 4. 3. 14, and frequently. 



eye. He deliberated : — I will create worlds ; accordingly 
he created these worlds, the ocean, atmosphere, death, the 
waters." Further in 1. 3. 11 : — "He deliberated: — How 
>tan this (human frame) exist apart from me? And he 
y J' deliberated : — In what way shall I enter into it ? . . . . 
accordingly he split open the crown of the head, and 
entered by this door." 

As far as the relative age of the passages quoted 
is concerned, the order that I have chosen may be 
expected to prove the order also of history. Brih. 1. 
4. 7 is the least developed. Ch&nd. 6. 2, 3 describes 
the process of creation in detail, but recognises only 
three elements. Taitt. 2. 1 represents the five elements 
as proceeding from the &tman. Ait. 3. 3 cites the five 
elements, and describes them for the first time 
with the later technical term panc'a mahdbhiUdni ; 
the finished picture moreover in Ait. 1. 3. 11 of the 
fttman's entering into man by the seam of the skull 
makes this passage appear as the latest among those 

3. The Creation of Inorganic Nature 

In the whole of nature no distinction is so sharply 
drawn as that between the inorganic and the organic ; and 
this distinction dominates the Indian view of nature also, 
in so far as they both, the inorganic no less than the 
organic, are derived from the atman, but in quite a 
diflerent sense. All organic bodies, and therefore all 
plants, animals, men and gods, are wandering souls, are 
therefore in essence the S,tman itself, as it, for reasons 
jwhich have still to be considered, entered into this mani- 
fold universe as wandering individual soul. Inorganic 
bodies, on the contrary,^ i.e, the five elements, ether, wind, 

1 Named mahdbhUldni on account of their bulk by Ait. 3. 3, Maitr. 3. 2, 
PrS^iagnihotrop. 4. 


fire, water, earth, though they are ruled by Brahman,^ and 
remain under the protection of individual deities,^ yet are 
not wandering souls, as are all plants, animals, men, and 
gods, but are only the stage erected by Brahman on 
which the souls have to play their part. Before we con- 
sider the origin of the elements from Brahman, and in 
the immediately following section of the entrance of 
Brahman into them as the soul, a few words of introduction 
are necessary on the creation myths of the Upanishads. 

It was shown above (pp. 183-186) how it became possible 
for the teachers of the Upanishads, in spite of the doctrine 
of sole existence which they defended, and which denied 
the existence of the universe outside of the S,tman, by an 
unconscious approximation to the empiiical view to adopt 
the traditional scheme of the creation myths. Thus in 
Ch§,nd. 4. 17. 1-3, and in a briefer form Chfrnd. 2. 23, a 
creation myth is reproduced, in part verbally, which we 
have already come to know from Ait. Br. 5. 32 and 
S'atap. Br. 11. 5. 8.* A creation myth is attached to the 
conception of the egg of the universe, whose earliest 
origin we have found in the " vital force that was enclosed f r. 
in the shell,'' * and in the " golden germ " ; ^ and the ; 
progressive development of the same idea met us already ' 
in S'atap. 6. 1. 1 and 11. 1. 6. This myth is preserved 
in Chand. 3. 19 : — "This universe was in the beginning 
not-being ; this (not-being) was being. It arose. Then 
an egg was evolved. It lay there a whole year long. 
Thereafter it split open ; the two halves of the shell were, 
the one of silver, the other of gold ; the silver half is this 
earth, the golden is yonder heaven," etc. (On these pre- ^^^' 
decessors the representation in Manu 1. 9-13 depends.) 

The conception of the egg of the universe appears in 

» Brih. 3. 7. 3-14. « Brih. 2. 1. 6-8, 2. 6. 1-10. 

' Deussen, Allyemeine Einleituiig u. Philosophie des Veda, pp. 183, 189. 

* Rigv. X. 129. 3. • hiranyagarbha, Rigv. X. 121. 1. 


a more characteristic context together with that of the 
premundane purusha^ in the creation myth at the 
beginning of the Aitareya Upanishad that belongs to 
the Rigveda : — " In the beginning the &tman alone was 
this universe; there was nothing else at all to meet 
the eye. He deliberated: — I will create worlds." 
Accordingly after he had created the earth and the 
atmosphere, the waters above and below, he drew forth 
the purusha from the waters, and gave him shape. 
Brooding over these waters they opened "like an egg," 
the mouth, nose, eyes, etc. of which are then developed, 
and from them the eight psychical organs, and from 
these in turn Agni, V&yu, Aditya, etc. as the eight 
guardians of the universe, who finally take up their 
abode in men as speech, breath, sight, etc. Although 
however the human frame is thus animated by the 
organs of sense that spring from the purusha, it can only 
exist after the creator through the fissure of the skull 
(vidriti) has entered into it as individual soul. The 
tendency of this myth is clear. The purusha, that in 
I Rigv. X. 90 had been the first principle, becomes here 
; a power dependent on the &tman ; and similarly only the 
] organs of man's soul are ascribed to the purusha, but the 
' soul itself to the &tman. 

The most original and significant creation myth of 
the Upanishads is the representation of the evolution of 
the universe from the fi,tman in Brih. 1. 4. Here the 
traditional form of the creation myth appears only as 
a veil lightly thrown over the whole. The aim is not 
to relate a consistent history of the creation, but rather 
. in a series of loosely connected creation pictures to teach 
' the absolute dependence of all existing beings on the 
&tman. Accordingly the perpetual return of created 
things into the fttman is used to show how the division of 

» ?igv. X. 90. 


the universe into male and female, and then into the 
diflFerent species of animals by the flight of the female 
before the male, how the evolution of name and fonn, and 
the entrance of the fttman into them, together with the 
creation of the castes of the gods and afterwards of men, 
etc., how all this signifies only the self-evolution of thei 
&tman to become the manifold universe, and the essential I 
identity of all its phenomena with the &tman. Through 
the consciousness " I am Brahman " (aham hrahma asmiyf 
the S^tman becomes the universe, "and to this day who-; 
ever knows this * I am brahman ' he becomes this universe ;' 
nor have even the gods power to prevent his so becoming. 
For he is its soul {dtmany Thus the traditional doctrine 
of the creation is preserved only as an external form. It . 
serves merely to exhibit the sole reality of the fitman j 
under the different phenomena of the universe. 

From this lofty standpoint we see the Upanishads 
ever turning back to the realism natural to us, in order to 
teach in detail a creation of the universe, and of the 
elements of which it consists. 

Like the Greek philosophers, Philolaus, Plato and 
Aristotle, most of the Indian thinkers distinguish five 
elements, — ether, wind, fire, water and earth. A 
dependence however of the Greek idea on the Indian, 
or the Indian on the Greek, is not to be thought of for 
this reason, if for no other, that the order of the elements 
is different, inasmuch as the Greeks place fire between 
ether and air, the Indians air between ether and fire. 
Further also because on both sides independently of 
one another the simple observation of nature led to 
the thought of the five compound states of matter, viz. 
the solid, fluid, gaseous, permanently elastic and the 
imponderable, as the five component parts of the material 
universe, to which correspond, as we shall see, the five 

» Brih. 1. 4. 10. 


specific energies of the organs of sense. The result is 
that both in the Greek and in the Indian philosophy we 
see the doctrine of the fivefold character of the elements 
gradually formed out of simpler conceptions. 
( The oldest element with the Indians is water . As 
j early as Rig v. X. 129. 3 the first principle appeared as 
a "dark undulation" {apraketam salila/m). In Rigv. 
X. 121. 9 PrajS^pati begets "the great sparkling waters." 
^ These again appear in Rigv. X. 82. 1 as the primeval 
s^ slime in which in the beginning heaven and earth were 
plunged ; and in Rigv. X. 72. 4-6 as the " wave-surge," 
that is identical with Aditi, etc. In the Upanishads also 
the conception of the primeval waters still survives. 
" The waters are the body of that pr^na ! " ^ " This earth, 
the air, the heavens, the mountains, gods and men, 
domestic animals and birds, vegetables and trees, wild 
creatures down to worms, flies and ants, are nothing but 
this water under solid conditions, they are all nothing 
but this water under solid conditions." * In Kaush. 1. 7 
/ [ also Brahman speaks to the soul that knows itself to 
I be identical with him : — " The primeval waters in truth 
' are my universe (as hiranyagarbha), and it is thine." 
In K&th. 4. 6 again it is said of the purusha that he 
existed before the primeval waters; and the latter are 
to be understood in the following verse ' by " Aditi the 
sustainer of the god that springs forth together with 
them to life." It also "dwells in the cavity of the 
heart" (in which according to Ch&nd. 8. 1. 3 heaven 
and earth are confined), that is the primeval waters also 
are a product of the 4tman dwelling in the heart. There- 
in, according to ls'& 4, Mdtarisvan, {i.e. probably the 
prfi,na) has already interwoven the primeval waters ; 
according to Mahfi,nar. 1. 4 he has sown by water the 

» Brih. 1. 5. 13. • Ch&nd. 7. 10. 1. 

• cp. Rigv. X. 72. 5, supra. 


germ of life on the earth. The cosmogony also of Ait. l' 
1. 1 is to be explained on the same principle. It seems 
to be especially closely connected with Rigv. X. 82. 1. 
There it is said that in the beginning the worlds were 
plunged in the ghritam of the primeval waters, and that 
the creator, having first fastened the extreme ends (which ^ 
could only stand fast out of the waters), spread out | 
heaven and earth between them. This gives the key f 
to Ait. 1. 1, where it is said: — **He deliberated: — I will '^ 
create worlds, the ocean, the realms of light, death, the 
waters {amhho, martcir^ maram, dpas). That is the 
ocean, beyond the heaven ; the heaven is its floor. The 
atmosphere is the realms of light. Death is the earth. 
The waters are whatever is beneath it." After this 
description we have the waters as the two ends of the 
universe, above and below, and between them the clear 
atmosphere (hence called maric'tr), and the dark earth 
(hence dead), i.e. the sHrtam and the asHrtam rajas of 
Rigv. X. 82. 4. By a reference to this passage the 
otherwise isolated description of the construction of the 
parts of the universe in Ait. 1. 1 seems to find a complete 
explanation. The same Upanishad further on ^ enumerates 
the five elements as usually given by later writers. 

A further step is taken in Brih. 1. 2. 2, where we find ! 
the one element of the primeval waters replaced by three. 
Here also Praj&pati forms the water by his song of praise. ; 
From its churning the earth arises, fire from the labour 
and heat involved in the movement. 

The leading authority for the number three of the 
elements is Chand. 6. 2. Here the waters are no longer 
the starting-point, but take their place between the 
subtler fire and the grosser earth. The tendency to choose 
for common subjects mystical terms intelligible only to 
the initiate (which in the Brahmasutras is carried to an 

» Ait. 3. 3. 


absurd extreme) is exhibited in the description side by 
side with water whose name is retained of fire as tejas 
(heat), of earth as annam (food). The evolution of these 
three elements from one another and ultimately from the 
self- existent, i.e. Brahman, is systematically described 
and established : — " He proposed : — I will be many, will 
propagate myself. Accordingly he created heat (tejds). 
This heat proposed : — I will become many, will propagate 
myself. Accordingly it created the waters (dpds). 
Therefore when a man feels the heat of pain or perspires, 
water {i.e. tears, sweat) is produced from the heat. These 
waters proposed : — We will become many, will propagate 
ourselves. Accordingly they created food (annam). 
Therefore when it rains, abundant food is produced, for 
from the waters is produced food for man's eating." 
Then after the account of the entrance of the self-existent 
as individual soul (jiva dtman) into the three deities that 
he has created, i.e. into the elements, there follows next 
the order of development from one another, how the self- 
existent "made threefold" the elements that he had 
created, and alloyed each of them with constituent parts 
of the other three. Thus for example it is shown of fire, 
sun, moon and lightning, that the red in them consists 
of heat, the white of water, the black of food. According 
to this the substances recurring in nature are not pure 
elementary substances, but compounds of which, as 
Badar&yana says,* vaiseshydt tu tadvdda^ tadvddah; 
which admits of a literal rendering, denominatio Jit a 
potiori. In this theory of the threefold division of the 
primitive elements lies the earliest germ of the later 
distinction of pure substances {tanmdtra) and gross 
elements (stMlabMtdni). This distinction is first drawn 
in Prasna 4. 8, where there are distinguished — "The 
earth and the earth-substance (prithivi ca prithivimdtrd 

1 Sdtra 2. 4. 22. 


ca), the water and the water-substance, heat and the heat- 
substance, the wind and the wind-substance, the ether 
and the ether-substance." The expressions here used, 
prithivtmdt7'dy apomdtrd, tejomdtrd, vdyumdtrd, dkd- 
s'amdtrd, were later comprehended under the term tan- 
mdtra^ " subsisting from this alone," which is found first in 
Maitr. 3. 2, and later on in Pr&nfi,gnihotrQp. 4, Mahop. 1. 
(A derivation from tanu-rndtra^ as might perhaps be 
maintained, is not to be thought of, after what has been 
said) In the verse Manu 1. 27 (which is disconnected 
from the context) the tanm&tras are referred to as anvyo 
mdtrdh, and in the Sankhya philosophy they play an ■ 
important part, as will later be shown. BadarS^yana doea 
not name them, and S ankara ^ mentions them as technical 
terms of the Sankhya only to reject them, although in his 
doctrine of the subtle body a kindred conception finds a 
place. The three elements having been increased to five, 
each was then conceived as fivefold instead of threefold, in 
such a way, according to the Vedalntas&ra, that half of 
each of the fivefold elements was pure, and the other half 
was made up of the remaining four elements ; so that e.g. 
natural water consists of a half water together with an 
eighth of earth, fire, air and ether. The theory how- 
ever propounded in VedS.ntas&ra 128 in connection with 
this triple or fivefold distribution, according to which the 
earth can be smelt, tasted, seen, felt and heard, water be 
tasted, seen, felt and heard, fire be seen, felt and heard, the 
wind felt and heard, and the ether merely heard, must not 
be i-egarded as suggesting it. For this theory implies not 
the compounded but the uncompounded elements, which 
as they proceed forth from one another preserve the 
attributes of the elements from which they have pro- 
ceeded (the wind can be heard as well as felt, because it 
has proceeded from the audible ether). On the contrary, 

^ In hi8 commentary on 2. 2. 10, 14. 


the theory is opposed to the triple or fivefold distribu- 
tion, since for example the fivefold ether, for the very 
reason that the four other elements are intermingled in it, 
can no longer be merely audible, but must be capable 
also of being felt, seen, tasted and smelt. Beyond how- 
ever the observation that in all of them there are traces 
of all,^ we were, able to indicate, as suggesting the triple 
or fivefold distribution, only the fact that the human 
organism, although it takes up nothing but simple 
substances as food, yet assimilates from them all three 
elements, food^ water and heat, which according to the 
description attached to the threefold distribution of the 
elements in Ch&nd. 6. 5 are requisite for its growth. 

A great advance on the passage discussed,* which 
represents only three elements, viz. — fire water and earth, 
as proceeding forth from Brahman, is found in the later 
insertion of ether (or space, dkds'a) and wind {vdyu)y 
which in earlier times, as we saw, had themselves been 
• regarded as symbolical representations of Brahman, as the 
I, two subtlest elements between Brahman and fire. By 
I this means the number of five elements was obtained, and 
/ this with few exceptions was assumed by all the later 
philosophers of India. The earliest passage that re- 
presents the five elements as proceeding forth according 
to the scheme laid down in Chfi5d:_6^2, the first from 
Brahman and each in succession from its inmiediate 
predecessor, is Taitt. 2. 1 (enumerations like Brih. 4. 4. 5 
do not enter into consideration), a passage which has 
acquired a fundamental meaning in Indian philosophy : — 
i " From this ^tman, in truth, has the ether (space) arisen, 
from the ether the wind, from the wind the fire, from the 
fire the water, from the water the earth." This number 
of five elements corresponds, as we shall see later, to the 

* cp. frav €P navTi fiffiixBui, Anaxagoras in Ar. Phys. 1. 4. 187, 6 1. 
« Chfind. 6. 2 f 


Qumber of five organs of knowledge (hearing, touch,, 
sight, taste, smell) which has suggested if not the primary \ 
enunciation, yet the definite arrangement of the five 
elements. Each element has its assigned quality (sound, 
resistance, colour, flavour, odour), and besides this, as 
already remarked above, the qualities of those elements 
out of which each has proceeded. Later passages of the 
Upanishads, in which the five elements are partly enumer- 
ated, partly referred to, are Ait. 3. 3 (still unarranged) ; 
S'vet. 2. 12, 6. 2 (cp. also Mth. 3. 15); Prasna 6. 4, 
Maitr. 3. 2, 6. 4, Atma 2, Pinda 2, Pr&nagnihotra 4. 

4. Organic Nature 

The essential identity of the universe with Brahman 
is thus represented as a creation of the universe by 
Brahman with a view to suit man's intellectual capacity, 
which is adjusted to relations of cause. According to 
the meaning of the Indian word for creation, srishtiy this \ 
is to be thought of as a discharge, a setting free or \ 
emission, an emergence therefore of the universe from ; 
Brahman ; although this is really in contradiction with i 
the fundamental dogma of the sole reality of Brahman. 
The doctrine therefore of the creation of the universe, if V 
this last were not to be contrasted with Brahman as a : 
second and foreign, demanded for its completion the idea ! 
that Brahman himself having created the universe entered I 
into it as soul. " Into it (the universe) that one 
(the ^tman) has entered up to the finger-tips." ^ " There- 
upon that deity (Brahman) entered into these three 
deities (the elements) with this living self {jtva dtman^ 
the individual soul), and separated out thence name and 
form."* "After he had created it, he entered into it."* 
" Thereupon he cleft asunder here the crown of the head, 
and entered through this gate."* Brahman creates the 

1 Brih. 1. 4. 7. . « Ch&nd. 6. 3. 3. « Taitt. 2. 6. ^ Ait. 1. 3. 12. 



organisms as citadels (^utym), and then enters into them 
as citizen {purusha, i.e. as the soul), cp. Brih. 2. 5. 18 : — 

Ab citadels he created the bipeds, 
As citadels the quadrupeds also ; 
Into the citadels he entered as a bird, 
Into the citadels as citizen. 

All living creatures, and therefore all plants, animals, 
men and gods, are abodes of this character, into which 
Brahman has entered as individual soul. 

From him the gods in their many forms have sprung, 
The blessed ones also ; from him, men, cattle and birds. 
Inspiration and exspiration, rice and barley, 

as it is expressed in Miuj^i 2. 1. 7, echoing Rigv. X. 90. 8 
and Atharvav. XL 4. 13. Accordingly all living creatures 
are Brahman : — " This (consciousness, i.e. the &tman) is 
Brahman, this is Indra, this is Prajapati, this is all the gods ; 
it is the five elements, earth, wind, ether, water, lights ; 
it is the tiny living creatures, and whatever is similar to 
them ; it is the seed of one and another kind ; it is that 
which is bom of an egg or the mother's womb, of sweat or 
from a shoot ; it is horses, cattle, men, elephants, — all that 
lives, all that walks or flies, all that is motionlesa"^ By 
the " motionless " (sihdvaram) the plant world is to be 
understood. On the entire passage S ankara remarks : — 
" Thus in the individual bodily forms from Brahman down 
to a blade of grass (brahmddi'Stamhaparyanteshu, an 
expression frequently employed later) Brahman assumes 
this or that name and form." A division of organic beings 
into three classes, "born from the egg, born alive, and 
born from the germ," is found as early as ChS.nd. 6. 3. 1, 
to which the foregoing (later) passage adds as a fourth 
class, " born from sweat " (insects and the like). In each 
of these phenomenal forms the entire Brahman dwells. 

^ Ait. 3. 3. 


Brahman is called Sdman, ** because he is equivalent 
{sama) to the ant, the gnat, the elephant, these three 
world-regions, to this entire universe."^ Ch&nd. 6. 11. 1 
furnishes an example of the animation of plants in the 
case of the tree which exists "penetrated through and 
through by the living self (jiva dtman^ the individual 
souls), exuberant and joyful." That the migration of soul 
extends to the plant world also is taught by K&^h. 5. 7 : — 

The one enters into the maternal womb. 
Incorporating himBelf in bodily form, 
Into a plant another moves, 
Each according to his works or knowledge. 

According to the above the migration of souls extends to 
the world of the gods : — " As a sculptor takes the material 
from a statue, and chisels therefrom another newer fairer 
form, so this soul also, after it has shaken off the body 
and rid itself of ignorance (temporarily), creates for itself 
another newer fairer form, whether of the fathers or the 
Gandharvas or the gods or Praj&pati or Brahm&n or other 
beings."* The coming forth of the creatures from 
Brahman, after their entrance into him (in deep sleep and 
in death), like the nectar of the flowers into the honey or 
the rivers into the ocean, takes place unconsciously : — 
"Therefore in truth none of all these creatures when 
they come forth again from the self-existent one know 
that they come forth again from the self-existent one ; 
that whether they were tiger here or lion or wolf or boar 
or worm or bird or gadfly or gnat, whatever they may 
have been, thereto are they again fashioned."* Cp. the 
similar and perhaps borrowed enumeration in Kaush. 1. 2 
— " Whether in this world he be worm or fly or fish or 
bird or lion or boar or stinging insect or tiger or man, 
whatever he was formerly, in this or that place is he reborn, 
each according to his works or according to his knowledge." j 

1 Brih. 1. 3. 22. « Brih. 4. 4. 4. « Ch&nd, 6. 10. 2. 


A mythical description of the origin of human and 
animal kinds is given in Byih. 1. 4. 3-4. The S.tman is 
originally neither male nor female, but (as in the myth of 
Aristophanes in Plato Symp. 189 C $eq.) an undistin- 
guished union of the two, which is cleft asunder, and in 
the act of begetting attains to a fresh unity. Thereupon 
the female flees, and hides herself successively in the 
different species of animals, the cow, horse, ass, goat, 
sheep, down to the ant ; the fttman however pursues her 
through all the forms, and thus begets individual creatures 
of each kind. We might be tempted to read a deeper 
meaning into this myth. The male principle would be 
the will which desires to manifest itself, the female the 
essence of the forms (the Platonic idea) which although 
derived from the will is yet distinct from it and flees from 
it, until the creative will gains the mastery, in order in it 
to give expression to all its own being. In any case the 
myth asserts that all animal and human forms are essenti- 
ally similar, and are alike incarnations of the atman. 

In what follows ^ is described how the S,tman creates 
above and beyond himself the various classes of gods : — 
" Because he created the gods to be higher (than he himself 
is), and because he being mortal created the immortal, 
therefore is he called the overplus of creation {atisrishtiy 
This much at least is implied, that the atman incorporated, 
in man contains in himself the principle of all higher 
worlds and beings. 

5. The Soul of the Universe {Hiranyagarbhay 

f The soul of the universe is related to the body of the 
universe as the individual soul to its body. This as 
denoted by Brahman (masc), distinguished from Brahman 
(neut.) the first principle, or «ven by Hiranyagarbha^vfhich 

1 Brih. 1. 4. 6, 11-16. 


according to Rigv. X. 121. 1 came forth as the first-bom 
of creation from the primeval waters which were created 
by the first principle. Because it is the first principle 
itself which appears in its creation as first-bom, therefore 
the latter also is denoted by Brahman with change of 
gender and accent, as though it were Brahman personified. , 
In the texts of the older Upanishads this conception is 
but little developed. In Byih. 4. 4. 4, as quoted above, 
BrahmSn (unquestionably to be taken as masc.) also 
appears together with Praj&pati and the other gods as an 
example of a soul subject to transmigration. In Ait. 3. 3 
Brahman is named at the head of the living beings, in 
whom the S.tman manifests himself.^ In Kaush. 1 again, 
where this Brahm&n conceived as a person receives the 
souls as they arrive in the other world, his identity with 
Hiranyagarbha is indicated by the closing words : — " The 
primeval waters, in truth, are my universe, and they are 
thine." * Otherwise in older texts the personal Brahm&n • 
is mentioned only as the bearer of the divine revela- 
tion* who communicates it to mankind. So in Ch&nd. 

3. 11. 4, 8. 15, Mund. 1. 1. 1-2, and frequently in later 

This conception of the first-bom of creation as the 
original source of all wisdom is carried further first in the 
S Vetas'vatara Upanishad (which in general inclines towards 
a personification of the divine), and here it is described as 
the Brahman^ Hiranyagarbha the "golden germ,'' or even 
in one passage * with a poetic and metaphorical use of the 

^ In this passage also it is natural to read esha hrahmd instead of etha 
hrahma, as it is printed by an oversight in Ait. Ar. 2. 6. 1. 6, p. 299. 3 ; cp. 
also the words of SAyapa that immediately follow : — anena ptd-li^ena 
brahmas'obdena * Hiranyagarhhah samavartata ogre* ity-ddi-i'dstra'prcuiddhah 
pratKamah s'artrt vivakshitah, 

* Kaush. 1. 7. 

* Or occasionally in his place Parameshthin or Prajdpatij e,g. Bpih. 2. 6. 3, 

4. 6. 3, 6. 5. 4. 

^ As Vena before him, cp. AUgemeine EinUitung, p. 252 f. ' 5. 2. 


word as the "red wizard," kapila rishi^^ an expression 
that has led many into the mistaken belief that here, in 
a Vedic Upanishad, Kapila the founder of the S&nkhya 
system was named as the first-bom of creation ! Had 
the author of our Upanishad, so strongly opposed to all 
dualism and atheism, known him (which we do not 
believe), he would have assuredly characterised him with 
altogether different epithets. The opinion that Kapila is 
here named is only possible so long as the passage is 
isolated and treated without regard to the connection of 
the Upanishad as a whole, which in four other passages 
gives expression to the very same thought that occurs 
here. It celebrates Kudra (S'iva), in whom it sees the 
primeval being, as the original source of all wisdom : — " from 
him wisdom emanated at the very beginning " ; * "he is 
called the primal purusha, the great one " ; • it is he " who 
created the god Brahman in the beginning, and who com- 
municates to him the Vedas also";* "who formerly begat 
Hiranyagarbha" ;* "who himself saw Hiranyagarbha arise" ;• 
and with reference to the last passage it is then said : — 
" He who in spirit went pregnant with that first-begotten 
red wizard {kapilam rishim)^ and saw him born." ® The 
word tarn pointing back, and the expression y%amdnam 
ca pas'yety compared vnt\i pas'yata jdyamdnam 4. 12, 
assuredly place the reference to the latter passage, and 
consequently to Hiranyagarbha, beyond doubt. 

Of later Upanishads mention must be made that accord- 
ing to Narayana 1 Brahm&n originates from Ndrdyana^ 
and that according to Atharvasiras 6 the egg of the 
universe originates from Rudra^ according to Mah& 3 
from Ndrdyana, and Brahm&n from this in turn. He is 
also indicated as the source of knowledge in Pinda 1, 

1 i.e, red like gold. ^ g^yet 4. 18 ; cp. Brih. 2. 4. 10. 

« agryaJj, purusho mahdn, 3. 19 ; cp. mahdn dtmd, K&th. 3. 10, 6. 7. 

* 6. 18. « 3. 4. M. 12. ^ Mentioned in 3. 4 and 4. 12. « 5. 2. 


Garuda 3, and (under the name Hiranyagarbha) Maha 
4. In contrast with the self-conscious ^fva (the individual 
soul) Hiranyagarbha is described in Nrisimhott. 9 as " self- 
conscious of all " (sarvdhammdnin). 

To the series of primeval beings, primeval waters, and 
first-bom [Brahmdn, Hiranyagarbha) there corresponds 
the description of purusha, avyaktam, and mahdn dtmd 
given after abandoning the mythological form in Kfi,th. 3. 
10-11, 6. 7-8, as the three earliest principles. Here, in con- 
trast with the individual &tman, the mahdn dtmd (the great 
self, corresponding to the mxihdn purusha of SVet. 3. 19), 
is the soul of the universe, i.e. the " self-conscious of all *' 
Hiranyagarbha. Buddhi is still subordinated to the mahdn 
dtmd in K&th. 3. 10. A combination of the two leads 
later on to the cosmical intellect {m^hdn^ buddhi) of the 
S&nkhya philosophy. On other lines the vov^ of the Neo- 
platonists that emanates from &, just as the " pure knowing 
subject " (the eternal eye of the universe) of the philosophy 
of Schopenhauer, corresponds to the cosmical intellect as 
sustainer of the universe {Hiranyagarbha^ Mahdn). For 
the metaphysical comprehension of the universe this idea 
is indispensable. We know (and the Indians knew also 
as early as Brih. 2. 4. 5) that the entire objective universe 
is possible only in so far as it is sustained by a knowing 
subject. This subject as sustainer of the objective universe 
is manifested in all individual subjects, but is by no means 
identical with them. For the individual subjects pass 
away,^ but the objective universe continues to exist without 
them ; there exists therefore the eternal knowing subject 
also (Hiranyagarbha) by whom it is sustained. Space 
and time are derived from this subject. It is itself accord- 
ingly not in space and does not belong to time, and there- 
fore from an empirical point of view it is in general non- 
existent ; it has no empirical, only a metaphysical reality. 

^ *' After death there is no consciouflness," Brih. 2. 4. 12 ; cp. 3. 2. 12. 


VII. Brahman as Preserver and Euler 

1. Brahman as Preserver of the Universe 

Since in reality the S,tman alone exists, and the universe, 
so far as it has a general existence, is essentially only the 
S,tman, it follows that the things of this universe, so far as 
we may concede to them a reality at all, can only hold it 
in fee from the fttman. They are related to the latter as 
the sparks to the fire whence they leap forth, and with 
which they are essentially identical in nature : — " As the 
tiny sparks leap forth from the fire, so from this S.tman all 
vital spirits spring forth, all worlds, all gods, all living 
creatures." ^ This illustration is expanded in greater detail 
in Mund. 2. 1. 1 : — 

As from the well-kindled fire the sparks, 
Easendallj akin to it, leap forth a thousandfold. 
So, my dear sir, from the imperishc*'..!2 
The varied living creatures come forth, 
And return into it again. 

All the things of the universe are, as this passage asserts, 
" essentially akin to it," * are the &tman himself, and it 
is he alone who lies outspread before our eyes as the 
entire universe : — 

Fire is his head, sun and moon his eyes, 

His ears the regions of the sky, 

His voice is the revelation of the Veda, 

Wind is his breath, the world his heart, from his feet arises the earth, 

He is the inner self in aU creatures.' 

How the one &tman is expanded into the manifold 
universe remains a mystery, and can only be explained by 
illustrations. Thus in Ch^nd. 6. 12 the teacher causes a 
fruit of the Nyagrodha tree (whose shoots grow downwards 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 20 ; cp. Kaush. 4. 20. 

* sarUpa, or svarUpa, "having its form." * Mu^d. 2. 1.4. 


and strike new roots in the earth, so that a whole grove 
springs up from one tree), to be brought and opened, and 
after the student has found in it only a quite small kernel, 
and within this nothing at all, the teacher addresses him : 
— " The subtle essence, which you do not observe, my dear 
sir, from this subtle essence in truth this great Nyagrodha 
tree has sprung up. Be confident, my dear sir, whatever 
this subtle essence is, of which this universe is a sub- 
sistence (a * having this as its essence,' aitaddtmyam), that 
is the real, that is the soul, that art thou, SVetaketu/' 

The expansion of the unity into plurality is elucidated 
also by the frequently misunderstood comparison of 
Kath. 6. 1 :— 

With ita root on high, its shoots downwards, 
Stands that eternal fig-tree. 

All who here take mMa in ^rdhvamHUa as plural, and 
render "die Wurzeln," "the roots," "les racines," etc., 
have failed to grasp the meaning of the comparison, which 
consists precisely in showing how from the one Brahman 
as root the multiplicity of the phenomena of the universe 
arises. The universe therefore is likened to an as'vattha 
tree, in the case of which, like our own linden, from the 
one root the rich variety of its branches and shoots springs. 
The difierence is that in the as'vattha which represents 
the universe the one root Brahman is above, and the 
many shoots of its manifestations are here below on the 
earth. It is altogether misleading to think here of the 
Nyagrodha tree {ficus indica\ which sends its shoots 
into the earth where they strike new roots. The as'vattha 
{Jicus religiosa) is entirely distinct from it in growth and 
foliage. It is interesting to see that the passage of the 
Kathaka discussed is to all appearance already referred to 
in SVet. 3. 9.^ When it is said in this passage : — " rooted 

1 As also Mah4n&r. 10. 20. 


in heaven like a tree the One stands," ^ the explanation is 
found in the passage K&^h. 6. 1, and only there. 

From the universal diflfusion of the &tman its omni- 
presence in the phenomenal forms of the universe results, 
as is described in KS,th. 5. 2, where use is made of the 
verse Rigv. IV. 40. 5 : * — 

In the ether he is the swan of the sun, in the air Vasu, 
The priest at the altar, the guest on the threshold. 
He dwells in man and at a distance, in law, in space. 
He as supreme Right springs forth from the waters, from cattle, right, 
and the hills. 

With a reference to the verse V&j. Samh. 32. 4, the 
divine omnipresence is depicted in S'vet. 2. 16-17 ;-^- 

He is god in aU the regions of the universe, 
Bom of older time and in the body of a mother; 
He was bom, and will be bom, 
Is present in men, and omnipresent. 

The god, who is in the fire and in the water. 
Who has entered into the entire universe. 
Who dwells in vegetables and in trees, 
To this god be honour, be honour 1 

It is a consequence of the omnipresence of the Atman 
that all creatures share in the bliss which is his essence 
{sup. p. 140 flf.) : — " From a small portion only of this bliss 
other creatures have their life " ; * " for who could breathe, 
who live, if that bliss were not in the &k&s'a ; for it is he 
who creates bliss."* Therefore longing for the &tman is 
innate in all beings, and equally for him who knows him- 
self as the S.tman : — " His (Brahman's) name is ' longing 
for him ' {tadvanam), as ' longing for him ' ought he to be 
worshipped. He who knows himself as such, for him 
assuredly all beings long."^ 

^ cp. also the tree of the universe in S'vet. 6. C. 

* =Mah&n&r. 10. 6, cp. the further references there. 

8 Brih. 4. 3. 32. * Taitt. 2. 7. 

' Kena, 31 ; cp. the saying of Aristotle, icivri bi o)? tpmyufvov. 


Every effect in the universe is wrought by the 
&tman : — " It is he who causes the man whom he will lead 
on high from these worlds to do good works, and it is he 
who causes the man whom he will lead downwards to do 
evil works." ^ Even the gods do their work only by virtue 
of the power which he confers on them ; no blade of grass 
can be consumed by Agni, or swept away by V&yu, apart 
from the will of Brahman.' 

The most beautiful picture of the omnipotence of the 
imperishable one, t.e. the fttman, is found, partly de- 
pendent on the hymn to Praj&pati in Rigv. X. 121, in 
Y&jnavalkhya's discourse with 6&rgl, Brih. 3. 8. 9 : — 

"At the bidding of this imperishable one, G&rgi, 
sun and moon are kept asunder ; at the bidding of this 
imperishable one, GS,rgt, heaven and earth are kept 
asunder; at the bidding of this imperishable one, 
G&rgl, the minutes and the hours are kept asunder, the 
days and nights, the fortnights, the months, the seasons 
and the years ; at the bidding of this imperishable one, 
GS-rgl, the streams run from the snow-mountains, some 
to the east and others to the west, whithersoever each 
goes ; at the bidding of this imperishable one, G&rgl, men 
praise the bountiful givers, the gods desire the sacrificer, 
the fathers the offerings to the dead." 

This passage, in which all dispositions in space and 
time, as well as every effect in nature and every desire of 
men, gods, and manes are ascribed to the &tman, has been 
often imitated. The comparison of the fttman in Brih. 
4. 4. 22* to a setu^ a word that denotes not only the 
(connecting) " bridge," but also the (separating) " dike," 
depends probably upon its first part which speaks of the 
power of the ^tman to keep asunder : — " he is the Lord 
of the imiverse, he is the ruler of living beings, he is the 
protector of living beings ; he is the bridge which (the 

i Kaush. 3. 8. « Kena, 17-:i3. » Quoted in Maitr. 77. 


dike which) keeps asunder these worlds, to prevent their 
clashing together." The last words recur in ChS,nd. 8. 4. 1 : 
— "The &tman, he is the bridge (the dike) that keeps 
asunder these worlds to prevent their clashing together." 
When however it is further said : — " This bridge neither 
day nor night cross, nor old age, nor death, nor suflfering," 
etc., we have, with a sudden change of the point of view, 
in place of the dike that separates the relative parts of the 
universe, a bridge that connects the present with the future 
world. And this circumstance affords probably a reliable 
proof of the important conclusion that the similarly sound- 
ing words are derived from Bpih. 4. 4. 22, and their original 
meaning being lost were reproduced in Ch&nd. 8. 4. 1. The 
conception thus modified of the bridge of immortality is 
then further taken over, apparently from Ch&nd. 8. 4. 1, 
by S Vet. 6. 19 and Mund. 2. 2. 5. The entire preceding 
paragraph in Mund. 2. 1 is in reality an interweaving of the 
passage quoted ^ with Rigv. X. 90 and other additions.* 

2. Brahman as Ruler of the Universe 

When it is said in the words quoted from Brih. 4. 4. 22, 
and also in Kaush. 3. 8 (probably in imitation of this 
passage): — **He is the protector of the universe, he is the 
ruler of the universe," two things are implied: (1) that 
the &tman as protector of the universe maintains things 
in their condition. This point has been already dis- 
cussed, — and (2) that he as ruler of the universe guides 
the creatures in their action. For this latter statement 
the principal chapter to be considered, together with 
several that have been already quoted, is Brih. 3. 7, which 
treats of the &tman as the antarydmin, i.e. the " inner 
guide." YS^jnavalkhya begins his instruction on this 
subject in Byih. 3. 7. 3 with the words : — " He who 
dwelling on the earth is distinct from the earth, whom 

^ Brih. 3. 8. s See Deusseu, Upan,^ p. 660 f. 


the earth knows not, whose body the earth is, who rules 
the earth from within, he is thy soul, the inner guide, 
the immortal." What is here asserted of the earth is 
then further aflirmed, with continual repetition of the 
same formula, of eleven other natural phenomena (water, 
fire, atmosphere, wind, sky, sun, heavenly regions, moon 
and stars, ether, darkness and light), then of all living 
creatures, and finally of the eight organs (breath, speech, 
eye, ear, manas, skin, intellect, seed); all these natural 
phenomena, living creatures, and organs are thus the body 
of the &tman, but are distinct (antara) from him, do not 
know him, and yet are ruled by him fix)m within. The 
passage also is frequently used in the sequel This is 
especially the case in Mfixidukya 6, and in its reproduc- 
tion in Nrisimhap. 4. 1, Nrisiriihott. 1, R&mott. 3 ; also 
Brahmop. 1 and B&shkala. A (worthless) definition of 
the Antary&min is given in Sarvopanishats&ra No. 19 : — 
" When the &tman as the cause of the natural constitution 
of compounds endowed with the supreme (conscious- 
ness) etc., appears in all bodies, like the string threaded 
through the store of pearls, he is then called the inner 
guide" (antarydmin). In the Ved&ntasfira § 43 the 
antarydmin is identified with Is'vara. A similar place 
is held by it in the system of RamS^nuja. 

To the antarydmin of Brih. 3. 7 there corresponds 
in the " honey-doctrine " of Byih. 2. 5 the "mighty im- 
mortal spirit " {tejomaya amritamaya purusha), who 
dwells in all cosmical and psychical phenomenal forms, and 
therefore renders possible their mutual influence. Here 
also the valuable fundamental thought is presented in a 
form which for us has little attraction, in that the same 
stereotyped formula is repeated fourteen times in succes- 
sion, a different idea being employed each time : — " This 
earth," so the section begins, " is the honey of all living 
creatures, is the honey of all living creatures ; but that which 


on the earth that mighty immortal spirit is, and that which 
in relation to the self that corporeal mighty immortal spirit 
is, it is even that which is the soul (dtman) here. This is 
the immortal, this is Brahman, this the universe." The same 
which is here afiirmed of earth and body is then further 
affirmed, with invariable repetition of the same formula, of 
water and seed, fire and speech, wind and breath, sun and 
eye, etc. The eye is nourished (exists) by the sun, and the 
sun by the eye (it would not be there if no eye beheld it), 
and this mutual dependence is only possible because in both 
the same mighty immortal spirit, i.e. the &tman, dwells.^ 

By the side of these leading passages it will be 
sufficient merely to make brief mention of the twelve or 
sixteen purushas put forward as Brahman by B&14ki 
GSxgya in Brih. 2. 1, KausL 4, with which Aj&tasatru 
contrasts the fttman as he "who is the creator of all 
those spirits, whose work this universe is."* Just as the 
eight purushas regarded as the &tman by Vidagdha 
S'&kalya in Bpih. 3. 9. 10-18, 26 (corporeality, desire, the 
sun, hearing, the shadow, the mirror, water, the son), with 
which Y&jnavalkhya contrasts the " spirit of the Upani- 
shad doctrine " {aupanishada purusha), " who impelling 
asunder these spirits, and driving them back, steps over 
and beyond them," i.e. who spurs them on to their work, 
recalls them from it, and is pre-eminent over them.' 

3. Freedom and Constraint of the Will 

In connection with the doctrine of Brahman as ruler 
of the universe, we propose briefly to consider the question 
of the freedom and constraint of the human will. Since 
the entire universe, so far as in general it has any exist- 

^ In the introduction to our translation of this paragraph {Upan,, p. 420) 
we have already called attention to the similar teaching of Kant of the 
"affinity of phenomenal forms," which is possible only through the 
" synthetic unity of apperception," %.e, through the knowing subject. 

« Kaush. 4. 19. » Bpih. 3. 9. 26. 


ence, is only the self-manifestation of the S.tman, there 
can be as little question in the Upanishads as with Spinoza 
of a freedom of the will within the range of nature. Such 
a freedom would assume a diflFerent character of the fttman. ' 
The standpoint of the Upanishads therefore is a rigid 
determinism : ^ — " Man is altogether fashioned out of desire 
{kdm^ia) ; according to his desire is his discernment (kratu) ; 
according to his discernment he does his work {karma)." * 
" At the bidding of this imperishable one, GArgl, men 
praise the bountiful givers, the gods desire the sacrificer, 
the fathers the offerings to the dead." ' They all, men, 
gods and fathers, cannot act otherwise than is in harmony 
with their nature. " For just as men here below pursue 
the aim after which each aspires, as though it were done 
at command, whether it be a kingdom or an estate, and 
live only for that (so in their aspiration for heavenly 
reward they are the slaves of their desires)." * 

The words that immediately follow stand in sharp 
contrast to this statement. Just as Kant, after having 
in the most decisive manner aflBrmed the empirical con- 
straint of the will by the eclipse of the sun which 
may be calculated beforehand, forthwith asserts in the 
very same line " that man is free,^' ^ so it is said further 
on in the passage quoted : — " Therefore he who departs 
from this world without having known the soul or those 
true desires, his part in all worlds is a life of constraint ; 
but he who departs from this world after having known 
the soul and those true desires, his part in all worlds is 
a life of freedom." • The meaning of this contrast is 
evident ; as sharers in the continuity of nature we are, 
like it, subject to necessity; but we are free from it as 

» Brih. 4. 4. 6. 

* Compare the similar remark in S'atap. Br. X. 6. 3, and Ch&nd. 3. 14. 1. 
» Brih. 3. 8. 9. * Ch&nd. 8. 1. 6. 

* Krit. d, prakt, Vemunfi^ p. 120, Kehrb. 

* Gh&nd. 8. 1. 6 ; cp. the similar statements in Ch&nd. 7. 25. 2, 8. 5. 4. 


soon as, by virtue of the knowledge of our identity with 
the atman, we are set free from this continuity of nature. 
That the S.tman is exempt from the constraint of causality 
we have already seen (p. 154 ff. ). Each of us is this eternally 
free dtman. We do not first become the &tman, but we 
are it already, though unconscious of the fact. Accord- 
ingly we are already free in reality, in spite of the absolute 
necessity of our acts, but we do not know it. " Just as 
he who does not know the hiding-place of a treasure 
of gold does not find it, although he may pass over it 
again and again, so none of these creatures find the world 
of Brahman, although they daily enter into it (in deep 
sleep) ; for they are constrained by unreality." ^ " Those 
therefore who find this world of Brahman by Brahma- 
c'&ryam (a life spent as a Brahman student in study and 
self-mortification), of such is this world of Brahman, and 
such have part in all worlds in a life of freedom." * The 
constraint of the will, absolute as it is, yet belongs entirely 
to the great illusion of the empirical reality, and vanishes 
with it. The phenomenal form is under constraint, but 
that which makes its appearance in it, the &tman, is free. 
The real consistency of the two points of view is expressed 
in the words : — " It is he who causes the man whom he 
will lead on high out of these worlds to do good works, 
and it is he who causes the man whom he will lead down- 
wards to do evil works." ' How this thought assumes the 
form of a doctrine of predestination, in proportion as the 
&tman is conceived as a personal god, has been already 
shown (p. l72flF.). But the entire doctrine of predestination, 
like the theism on which it depends, is in the Upani- 
shads only an attempt to express in empirical forms 
what is essentially foreign to them. The eternally free 
atman, who determines our doing and abstaining, is not 
ianother, contrasted with us, but our own self. Therefore 

1 Ch&nd. 8. 3. 2. « Ch&nd. 8. 4. 3. » Kauah. 3. 8. 


it is said of the atman : — " He fetters himself by himself 
{nibadhndti dtmand dtmdnam), like a bird by its nest." ^ 
And in Prasna 3. 3 the answer to the question, how the 
atman enters into this body is given : — " he enters into 
this body manokritena" which if we follow S ankara would 
here mean " by the action of his will," although grammar 
requires a different conception (as mano-hfritena, " uncon- 
sciously)," an objection which (in spite of Rigv. I. 187. 7) 
it is difficult to pass by with a sandhir 6/rshdh (as Anan- 
dajMna says). 

4. Brahman as Providence 

While the control of the universe may be ascribed to 
an impersonal principle (acting as antarydminy ** inner 
guide " ), Providence implies a personal God. In 
harmony with this in the ancient Upanishads we see 
a beUef in Providence, like theism, make its appearance 
only here and there as a poetical form of representation. 
It is only in the later Upanishads that with the personi- 
fication of the atman beUef in a divine providence also 
acquires a firmer consistency. The conception of Ait. 1. 2 
is mythical throughout, describing how the deities, {i.e. 
the organs of sense and the corresponding nature gods), 
produced by the S,tman from the purusha, plunge into the 
ocean, suffer hunger and thirst, and then receive from the 
atman mankind allotted to them as a domicile, in which 
they may enjoy food, which they are then however 
compelled to share with the demoniac powers of hunger 
and thirst. The " well-being " also {i.e. probably " adapt- 
ability") which in Taitt. 2. 7 is declared to be the 
essence of the universe, and (by means of a play on the 
words suhrita and svakrita) is deduced from the fact that 
the universe is only a self-manifestation of the Brahman 
who is essentially bliss, can only be regarded as the first 

1 Maitr. 3. 2. 


germ of a belief in a providence that guides to ends. 
Such a providence appears more clearly as early as K&0L 
5. 13 :— 

He who as the eternal creates the temporal, 

Himself pure bliss, as spirit creates the spirits, as one the many, 

He who, the wise, sees them dweU in himself, 

He alone and no other has eteraal peace. 

The concession which the first half of this verse makes to 
theism is retracted in the second half, and it is character- 
istic that in the reproduction of this verse in S'vet. 6. 13 
the second half is altered in a theistic sense : — 

He who by examination (sdnkhyam) and devotion (yoga) 
Knows this primeval one as god, is freed from all fetters.^ 

A significant advance in the direction of theism and 
belief in providence is found in the thought which is 
repeated from K&th. 5. 13 in Is'S, 8, where it is said 
(word for word) : — " The wise, thoughtful, all-comprehend- 
ing, self-existent one has assigned ends ydihdtathyato 
for all time." The word ydihdtathyato, interpolated later 
as the metre shows, gives evidence of a further advance 
upon the original verse ; " in proportion to the quality," 
i.e. according to (yathd) the works of the individual soul, 
so (tathd) has the wise thoughtful one {kavir mantsht) 
determined beforehand the ends (the fruit of actions, the 
doing and suffering of each soul). This is already, unless 
we have^read too much into the verse, the part which 
is'vara plays in the later VedS,nta. The works of the 
soul are the seed-corn, which in close correspondence with 
its quality is made to grow by god as the rain ; just as by 
the seed the plant, so by the works of the earlier existence 
the future life is determined both as regards its doing and 
its suffering. A clear distinction between these two is not 

^ According to some, the author here, as a foundation for his theism 
appeals to the atheistic S&nkhya system ! 


to be found even in the later Vedanta. In general this later 
Vedanta standpoint is anticipated by the S'vetasvatara 
Upanishad, which in harmony with its theistic colouring 
depicts the atman as " the overseer of actions," ^ " the only 
free one, who multiplies the one seed of many who are by 
nature free from actions,"* who apportions to each his 
qualities,* who executes justice, restrains the evil, allots 
good fortune,* "who, himself colourless, but endowed 
abundantly with powers, assigns the numerous colours 
to appointed ends," ^ who brings to maturity the actions 
of the soul : — 

When every birth comes to maturity with his being, 
Whatever is to ripen, he makes it aU to grow; 
He as one, guides here aU and each, 
Apportioning to each his peculiar gifts.* 

It is moreover characteristic of this Upanishad (which 
we compared above to a codex palimpsestics), that the 
ancient Upanishad thought ever and anon makes itself 
apparent through this elaborate theistic doctrine of re- 
compense ; by virtue of which it is God Himself who 
fetters Himself as soul to continually new forms cor- 
responding to the actions that have been committed : — 

As soul he chooses many forms both gross 

And subtle, corresponding to his virtue ; 

And that which bound him by the power of his work and of himself 

To this, binds him also to another.' 

We see therefore the thinkers of the Upanishads, after 
they have wandered in obedience to the empirical determi- 
nation of their intellect, into realistic modes of repre- 
sentation, constantly returning to the original idealism. 

1 S'vet. 6. 11. 

' SVet 6. 12 ; in reality the soul is actionless like the &tman, which it is. 
' S'vet. 6. 4. * S'vet. 6. 6. * S'vet 4. 1. 

« S'vet. 5. 6. ' S'vet 6. 12. 


5. Cosmography of the Upanishads 

The views that are found in the Upanishads with 
regard to the universe and its parts are scanty in detail, 
and possess little consistency. 

As concerns, to begin with, the geographical horizon, 
it is seen to be essentially limited by the ranges of the 
HimS^laya and Vindhya on the north and south,^ and by 
the river basins and mouths of the Indus and Ganges on 
the west and east. Day is born in the ocean towards the 
east, night in the ocean towards the west.* "These 
streams, my dear sir, flow in the east towards the 
morning, and in the west towards the evening; from 
ocean to ocean they flow (uniting together), they become 
open sea."* What lies beyond these limits appears to be 
unknown. Only in a quite late Upanishad that is founded 
upon the Ramayana is mention made of Lankd in (sic) 
Ceylon * and similar names. But even the country of the 
Indus appears as almost unknown. Noble steeds are 
brought thence,*^ perhaps salt also;' the people of 
Gandhara (west of the Indus, and south of Peshawar) 
appear in Chand. 6. 14 as distant; the Brahman students 
penetrate in their wanderings as far as the Madras (on 
the Hyphasis).^ Just as YS^jnavalkhya appears as the 
greatest personality in the Upanishads, so Janaka appears 
as the centre of the intellectual life of the court that 
surrounds him ; he is king of Videha (north-east of Patna), 
where in Brih. 3. 1. 1 the Br§,hmans also of the Kurus 
and Pafic'S,las (who dwell farther west, between the 
Ganges and the Jumna) gather together to the great 

1 Kauah. 2. 13. » Bj-ih. 1. 1. 2. 

• Ch&nd. 6. 10. 1; whether we are to think here with S'ankara in loc. of a 
return of the water of the sea into the rivers by means of clouds and rain is 
in view of the wording of the text very questionable ; cp. Ch&nd. 2. 4. 1. 

* R&mapArvat. 43. 46. » Bnh. 6. 1. 13. 

« Brih. 2. 4. 12, 4. 5. 13 ; cp. Maitr. 6. 35. ^ Brih. 3. 3. 1, 3. 7. 1. 


argumentative contest described in Brih. 3. 1-9. Together 
with these, reference is made to the courts of Aj&tas'atru, 
king of Kas'i (around Benares),^ and of Jivala, king of the 
Pancalas.* The Kekayas, on the upper course of the 
Hydraotes, as repositories of the knowledge stored up in the 
Upanishads, seem to belong to the far north-west ; whose 
king As'vapati imparts instruction on the Vais'v§,nara to 
the six BrS^hmans who approach him.* Apart from these, 
in the enumeration in Kaush. 4. 1 of the peoples who 
have sought the renowned Vedic scholar G&rgya BalS,ki, 
are named probably all the tribes who took an active part 
in the intellectual life of the period. They are these : — 
the Uslnaras, Satvans, and Matsyas, west of the Jumna ; 
the Kurus and Panc'&las between the Jumna and Ganges ; 
the K&3'ls east of the latter, and still farther east the 
Videhas. No common name for the Aryan races or their 
country is found in the ancient Upanishads. In N&dabindu 
12 for the first time Bhdratam varsham occurs as a name 
of Aryan India. The "five races of five"* appear to 
denote merely the indefinite multitude • of all the races 
of mankind. 

The earth is surrounded by water.* According to a 
late text, it has oceans, mountains, and seven islands or 
continents.^ The conception of heaven and earth as the 
two halves of the egg of the universe recurs.® A similar ' 
view appears to lie at the basis of the cosmography 
described in Brih. 3. 3. Here the same concentric 
arrangement holds in the universe as in the different ' 
layers in an egg, viz. — (1) in the middle the (inhabited) i 

1 Brih. 2. 1, Kaush. 4. 

2 Chand. 5. 3-10, Bpih. 6. 2 ; for whom in Kaush. 1 C'itra Q&ngy&yana is 

8 S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 1, Chfind. 5. 11-24. 

* paiica paTic'ajandf^y Bpih. 4. 4. 17 ; cp. the remark there. 

* cp. pafU'anadam^ AUgemeine Einleitung, p. 73. ® Chilnd. 3. 11. 6. 
' Xrisimhap. 1. 2, 6. 2. » Chand. 3. 19. 


world, (2) around this the earth, (3) around this again the 
sea. The world is in breadth 32 days' journey of the 
chariot of the sun, the earth 64, the sea 128 ; according 
to which measurement the diameter of the egg of the 
universe would amount to 416 courses of the sun. 
" There," i.e. where heaven and earth as the two layers of 
the egg of the universe meet one another, " is a space as 
broad as the edge of a razor or the wing of a fly " (between 
the two layers), through which access is obtained to the 
place where the ofierers of the horse-sacrifice are, i.e. 
probably to the " back of heaven " {ndkasya prishtham) 
mentioned in other passages as being "free from suffer- 
ing,"^ where according to Taitt. Ar. 10. 1. 52 union with 
Brahman is obtained,* but according to Vaj. Samh. 15. 50 
recompense for good works, and the latter according to 
Mun4. 1. 2. 10' is transitory. A second scheme of 
cosmography, though put forward by YS,jnavalkhya in 
Bpih. 3. 6 in the same context, is irreconcilable with that 
mentioned in Brih. 3. 3. According to this theory the 
universe inwoven with the water is besides ** inwoven and 
interwoven " with ten other layers, i.e. is overlaid by them, 
or, perhaps more correctly, is altogether surrounded by 
them. These ten layers (the worlds of the wind, the 
atmosphere, the Gandharvas, the sun, moon, stars, the 
gods, Indra, Praj&pati and Brahman) recall the degrees of 
bliss of Brih. 4. 3. 33 and Taitt. 2. 8, as well as the 
stations of the way of the gods.* The difference is that in 
these, as we shall see later, measurements of time and space 
are co-ordinated together, exactly as in Ch&nd. 2. 10. 5 
similar terms are added together without consideration.* 
The prevailing view in the Upanishads is the 

1 ndkam^^^na akamj CMnd. 2. 10. 6. 

> hrahma sakikatA ; cp. also Mahanfir. 1. 1, 10. 21, 63. 5. 

» cp. K&th. 3. 1. 

* CMnd. 4. 16. 6, 6. 10. 1-2, Bfih. 6. 2. 16, and especiaUy Kaush. 1. 3. 

* cp. also Bfih. 1. 1. 


traditional one, according to which there are three world- 
regions, earth, air and heaven, to which Agni, Vftyu and 
Aditya correspond as rulers.^ The fragment of a verse 
also which is inserted in Chdnd. 8. 5. 3 is to be interpreted 
in this sense (that this is so is shown by Atharvav. 5. 4. 3 
also) : — trittyasydm ito divi. The reference is not here, 
as often elsewhere, to three heavens, but the words mean, 
— " In the heaven, which is (reckoned) the third from 
here." According to Ait 1. 1. 2 the primeval waters 
extend above and below the three regions (earth, air and 
heaven). Brih. 3. 8. 4 teaches that all three are inwoven 
in the ftkas'a, as the latter in Brahman. Very often earth, 
air and heaven are denoted by the three mystic syllables 
of the sacrifice (vydhritis) bMr^ bhuvah, svar. In Taitt. . 
1. 5 a fourth mahas is added to them, denoting probably 
Brahman. Later, three higher worlds, janas, tapas^ and 
satyam, were imposed above these four, and so the number 
seven was obtained, the first mention of which as far as 
our knowledge goes is in Mund. 1. 2. 3, and the first 
enumeration of them in Taitt. Ar. 10. 27-28. Later lists 
are given in Nadabindu 3-4, Nrisimhap. 5. 6. In course 
of time a distinction was drawn between hhUr, bhuvah, 
svar, mahcLSy jana{s\ tapas, and satyam as the seven 
upper worlds, and atala, pdtdla^ vitala, sutala^ rasdtala, 
mahdtala, taldtala * as the seven lower. Even this number 
was exceeded, and in Atharvas'iras 6 nine heavens, nine 
atmospheres, and nine earths are reckoned. 

The number also of the heavenly regions is differently 
given. In Ch&nd. 4. 5. 2 four are enumerated (east, west, 
south and north ; five in Brih. 3. 9. 20-24 ; six in Brih. 
4. 2. 4, Chfmd. 7. 25 ; eight (four poles, and four intermediate 
between the poles) in Maitr. 6. 2, R&map. 71-72, 87, 89. 

1 Ch&nd. 1. 3. 7, 2. 21. 1, 3. 16. 5, Brih. 1. 2. 3, 1. 6. 4, 3. 9. 8, Praa'na 
6. 7, etc 

« Ani^eya Up. 1 ; cp. Ved&ntas&ra § 129. 


Astronomical conceptions , are only slightly developed 
in the Upanishads. Sun and moon enter principally into 
consideration, in so far as they form stations for the 
soul on its journey to the other world, a subject that will 
later demand treatment. If the texts of Ch^nd. 4. 15. 5, 
5. 10. 2 are to be followed, the sun is nearer to us than the 
moon. The red white and black aspects of the sun depend, 
according to Chand. 3. 1 £, on the juices of the diflFerent 
Vedas dissolved in it. According to Chand. 6. 4. 2-3, sun 
and moon also, like everything else in the universe, consist 
of the three elements ; the red in them of fire, the white 
of water, the black of earth. The sun moves in winter 
and summer alternately for six months to the south and 
six to the north.^ It is disc-shaped {mandalam)} The 
purusha of the sun dwells therein, who is usually hidden 
by the rays,' but by these same rays is brought into 
connection with the purusha in the eye,* or with the veins 
of the heart. '^ The moon is (as in Rigv. X. 85. 5) the 
soma cup of the gods, which is alternately drained by them 
and again filled ;• on the other hand, the waxing and 
waning of the moon depend on the arrival of the dead 
therein and their return.^ The two conceptions are com- 
bined in Brih. 6. 2. 16. According to Brih. 1. 5. 14, 
the moon is Prajftpati as pr&na, whose fifteen parts 
alternately disappear and are again restored. At an 
eclipse the moon is held in the jaws of Rdhu} All night 
long the moon holds on her course among the other con- 
stellations (nahshatram)y on which she depends like the 
S&man on the Ric* The same 27 constellations are 
traversed, according to Maitr. 6. 14, by the sun on his 
yearly journey, and therefore on each of the twelve 

1 Ch&nd. 4. 15. 5, 6. 10. 1-3, Bph. 6. 2. 16-16. 

« Brih. 2. 3. 3, 6. 6. 2-3, Mahanar. 13. 

« Brih. 6. 5. 2, 5. 15, Is'^ 16. * Byih. 5. 5. 2. * Ch&nd. 8. 6. 2. 

« Chand. 5. 10. 4. ' Kaush. 1. 2, 2. 8 ; differently in 2. 9. 

8 Chand. 8. 13. 1. » Chfind. 1. 6. 4. 


months H aksha tras^ i.e. nine quarters {navdms'akam) 
of them are covered. The planets (grahdh) are first 
mentioned in Maitr. 6. 16. In a very late text^heir 
number is given as nine, and therefore together with sun 
and moon Rdhu and Ketu also (the head and tail of 
the dragon) are reckoned with them. S'ukra, Venus,^ and 
Sani, Saturn are especially mentioned with Rahu and 
Ketu.^ Of movements affecting the cosmos there are 
mentioned in Maitr. 1. 4 : — "the drying up of great seas, 
shattering of mountains, oscillations of the pole-star 
(dhruva), straining of the ropes of the wind (which bind 
the constellations to the pole-star), sinkings of the earth, 
and overthrow of the gods from their place." 

As curiosities of natural science we will cite further 
that the rain has its origin from the sun,* while heat 
occasions storm and rain,^ just as indeed in men warmth 
draws forth sweat and heat tears of pain ; * also that accord- 
ing to Maitr. 6. 27 " a piece of iron buried in the earth 
enters forthwith into the substance of the earth." The 
anatomical and physiological views of the Upanishads will 
later on be discussed.^ 

VIII. Brahman as Destroyer op the Universe 
1. The Kalpa Theory of the later Veddnta 

Before we trace in the Upanishads the development 
of the doctrine of Brahman as destroyer of the universe, 
it is worth while to glance at the theory of the later 
Vedanta, which is the result of this development. 
According to the Vedanta system, the actions of each life- 
history find their precisely equivalent recompense in the 

1 Ramottarat. 6. « Maitr. 7. 3. « Maitr. 7. 6. 

* Mabanar. 63. 16, Maitr. 6. 37 ; cp. Manu 3. 76. » Chand. 7. 11. 1. 

Chaud. 6. 2. 3. ^ Chap. XII. 6. 


next succeeding life. Each life both in doing and in 
suffering is only the fruit of the actions of a preceding 
birth. Hence it follows that each existence always pre- 
supposes an earlier, that consequently no existence can be 
the first, and that the migration (samsdra) of souls is 
maintained from all eternity. The absence of a beginning 
of the samsara {samsdnxsya andditvam) is therefore a 
necessary consequence of the Ved&nta teaching ; and this 
is not only assumed by GaudapS^da^ and defended by 
S'ankara, but occurs also already in the sutras of 
BMar&yana,* and is actually found in some of the later 
Upanishads.* This absence of a beginning to the circuit 
of the souls' migration is in contradiction to the numerous 
creation theories of the Upanishads, which collectively 
teach a creation of the universe at one time, as is at once 
proved by the constantly recurring expression, " At the 
beginning." * In order to assert the absence of a begin- 
ning of the sams&ra as demanded by their system, and yet 
to uphold the Upanishad doctrine of a creation, the theo- 
logians of the Ved&nta conceive the creation of the universe 
as an event recurring periodically from all eternity. The 
universe created by Brahman persists through an entire 
world-period (kalpa), after which it returns into Brahman, 
only to issue again from him ; since at each dissolution of 
the universe there are works of the soul that still survive, 
and these demand for their expiation a renewed existence 
and therefore a re-creation of the universe : — 

AU living beings, Eaunteya, 

Return back into my nature 

At tbe end of the world; at the world's beginning 

I re-create them anew.' 

1 MM<ikya-karik& 4. 30. « 2. 1. 36. 

* e,g, Sarvop. 23 ; cp. the drastic description of Ypgatattva 3-5. 

* ogre, Ait 1. 1. 1, Chdnd. 3. 19. 1, 6. 2. 1, Brih. 1. 2. 1, 1. 4. 1, 10, 17, 
5. 5. 1, Taitt. 2. 7. 1, Maitr. 2. 6, 6. 2. 

» Bhag. Git& 9. 7, cp. 8. 17-19. 


For proof S ankara relies, as perhaps BadarS,yana before 
him/ on the verse in Rigv. X. 190. 3 : — 

Satryd'Candramasau dhdtd yathdpHrvam akalpayat^ 

in which according to the context yathdpHrvam signifies 
only " one after the other," not as S'ankara maintains,* "as 
before." The other passage also, on which his theory rests : 
— " I will enter into these three divinities with this living 
self,"' does not prove, as he believes, that the " living self" 
existed already before the creation. This entire conception 
of a periodically recurring creation and destruction of the 
universe is still entirely foreign to the older Upanishads. In 
order to trace its origin we shall have to distinguish, (1 ) the 
return of individuals into Brahman, (2) that of the universe. 

2. Return of Individuals into Brahman 

The first starting-point of the conception of Brahman 
as destroyer of the universe is formed probably by the 
fact of death, which presents itself as the result of 
experience, and engages attention at all times, and there- 
fore also as early as that ancient period After men 
had become accustomed to see in Brahman the power 
which as prdria brings forth and sustains life, it was an 
easy step to restore it to the same power "when it i 
wearies of bearing the burden," and to see in Brahman 
a.s prdria "the cause of death and of life."* Therefore 
as early as Satap. Br&h. 11. 3. 3. 1 we find it said: — 
" Brahman handed over the creatures to death " ; and in 
S'atap. Brah. 13. 7. 1. 1 again : — " He sacrificed himself in all 
beings, and all beings in himself." This thought is further 
expanded by the Upanishads. In Brih. 1. 2. 1 "death 
and hunger " {mrityur, asandyd) figure as creators of the 
universe : — " all that he created he resolved to devour ; 

1 2. 1. 36. « p. 495. 7. 

» Chand. 6. 3. 2. * Taitt. Ar. 3. 14. 1-2, Atharvav. 11. 4. 11. 


because he devours (ad) everything, therefore is he the 
Aditi (the infiuite)." And in Brih. 1. 5. 3 Praj&pati 
creates the all-embracing principles, manas, speech and 
pr&na, as food for himself. In the words of K^th. 2. 25 : — 

He consnmes both the Br&hraan and the warrior, 

As though they were bread soaked in the sauce of death, 

a poetical echo of passages of this kind seems to be before 
us. In Ch&nd. 1. 9. 1 it is said of the &k&3'a (ether, 
space, as the symbol of Brahman) : — '' It is the &kas'a 
whence all these creatures proceed, and into which they 
again descend." And in Taitt. 3. 1 a distinctive mark 
of Brahman is given : — " That in truth out of which 
these beings arise, by which they when they have arisen 
live, into which they at death again enter, that seek to 
know, that is Brahman." In all these passages the 
reference is solely to the descent of individual beings 
into Brahman, not to that of the universe. So also in 
Mund. 1. 1. 7, where Brahman is compared to the 
spider, which sends forth the threads and draws them 
in again ; and in Mund. 2. 1. 1, where living beings in 
their numerous kinds issue forth from the imperishable 
and enter into him again. In the same sense it is said 
of the fttman in M&nd. 1. 6 : — " He is the cradle of the 
universe, for he is the creation and the end of living 
beings " ; and in N&r&y. 1 of Nfi-rayana : — " All gods, all 
rishis, all metres, and all creatures originate solely from 
" N&r&yana, and are lost in N&r&yana." We may compare 
also the beautiful verses of C'ulikS, 17-18 : — 

In him in whom this universe is interwoven. 
Whatever moves or is motionless. 
In Brahman everything is lost, 
Like bubhles in the ocean. 

In him in whom the living creatures of the universe 
Emptying themselves become invisible, 
They disappear and come to light again 
As bubbles rise to the surface. 


To these passages also the doctrine of the disappearance 
of the universe in Brahman appears to be still unfamiliar. 
And therefore we must hesitate to find it with S'ankara 
in the mystical name Tajjaldn^ discussed above ; * since 
this idea is still foreign to all the rest of the Upanishads, 
and the conception of Brahman as the cause of the rise, 
continuance and disappearance of individual beings is 
sufficient to explain the term. Still less can we refer the 
words of Vaj. Samh. 32. 8, 

tccsmin idam sam- ca vi- ca eti sarvam, 

to a dissolution and re-creation of the universe. Judging 
from the entire context, they signify only that the vein is 
" the centre and circumference of the universe." * The 
case stands otherwise with the repetition of these words 
in SVet. 4. 11.* Here from their relation to the other 
passages of the SVet. Up. they gain a new significance, 
which we now proceed to discuss. 

3. Return of the Universe as a Whole into Brahman 

Among the new and fruitful thoughts in which the 
S'vet. Up. is so rich is to be counted that also of the 
periodical dissolution and re-creation of the universe by 
Brahman. " He (Rudra as a personification of Brahman) 
dwells in the creatures, and burning with fury at the 
end of time he as lord dashes to pieces all created 
things " ; ^ he regulates all the aims of the creatures, 
"until finally the whole is lost in him, who is the 
beginning." • And we must understand similarly the 
words of V&j. Samh. 32. 8 quoted above, when they recur 
in this connection;^ it is god, "in whom the universe 

» Chdnd. 3. 14. 1. « p. 180 f. 

* cp. the translation, Allgemeine Einleitung u. Philosophie dcs Veda^ p. 294. 
^ And in Mah&n&r. 1. 2, which is dependent upon it 

* S'vet. 3. 2. • S'vet. 4. 1. ' S'vet. 4. 11. 


is lost and reappears " (yasmin idam sam- &a vi- ca eti 
sarvam). This process however of the creation and dis- 
solution of the universe is not unique, but is continually 
being repeated. In S Vet. 5. 3 " the god, who many times 
spreads forth one net after another in space and again 
draws it in," is compared to a spider.^ The reason also 
for this periodically recurring re-creation of things is 
indicated in S'vet. 6. 3-4, where it is said, following upon 
a description of the work of creation : — 

That which he created he then takes back again. 

Becoming one with the being of being; 

In order then . . . 

To begin afresh the work rich in the go^^is, 

Apportioning to each their attributes. 

That it is only the soul's actions which prompt the creator 
to " apportion to each all their attributes {sarvdn bhdvdn 
viniyojayet) is asserted by the immediately succeeding 
words : — 

Where they are not there action comes to nought. 
Thither he departs actionless, in reality another ; 

i.e. where the hhdvas which constitute the empirical 
nature are destroyed by knowledge, actions come to 
nought, and a re-creation no longer takes place. 

The following passages from later Upanishads that 
treat of Brahman as destroyer of the universe are note- 
worthy : — 

" It is he who, when the universe is dissolved, alone 
remains on the watch ; and it is he who then (again) from 
the depths of space wakens to life the pure spirits." * 

" When Rudra lies in the coils of the snake, then created 
things are absorbed into him. When he draws breath, 
the darkness arises, from the darkness water," etc. ; ' cp. 

1 As in Mupd. 1.1.7; cp. S'vet. 3. 1, 6. 10. 

• Maitr. 6. 17. * Atharvac'iras 6. 


the preceding passage : — " He who consuming all the forces 
of life, while consuming them, as the eternal one gathers 
together and again evolves them," etc.^ This passage may 
however also be understood of sleeping and waking. 

The fire that destroys the universe {samvartako 'gnih) 
is mentioned in Atharvas'ikh& 1, and in the two reproduc- 
tions of this passage, Nyisimhap. 2. 1 and Nrisimhott. 3. 
We close with the beautiful verse Kaivalya 19, where he 
who knows himself as the Stman speaks : — 

In me the universe had its origin, 
In me alone the whole subsists, 
In me it is lost, — this Brahman, 
The timeless, it is I myself! 

4. On the Origin of the Doctrine of the Dissolution of 
the Universe in Brahman 

Brahman is the womb whence all living beings proceed, 
and it was very natural to assume that they return at 
death into Brahman whence they have come forth ; for as 
Anaximander already says: — "that from which existing 
things originate, into it they necessarily also disappear." 
Accordingly we see formulated, as was shown above, in 
the texts of the oldest Upanishads and even earlier, the 
doctrine of Brahman as destroyer of individual creatures. 
Thence has been developed first in later times, from the 
S Vetas'vatara Upanishad and onward, the doctrine of 
the periodical destruction of the universe by Brahman, 
precisely as the teaching of Heradeitus that all things 
come forth from fire {686^ Karm), and return into it (0S09 
avcj), signified originally a twofold process linked 
together everywhere in the universe in the rise and 
disappearance of individual creatures, which was then 
however generalised, whether by Heradeitus himself or by 
his successors the Stoics, into a periodically recurring dis- 

^ Atharvac'iras 4. 


solution of the universe in fire (iKirvpaxri^) and reconstruc- 
tion out of it (SiaKoafiTfai^). Of the causes which in Greek 
philosophy may have led to this generalisation we learn 
nothing more precisely. In India to a great extent it 
gave support to the doctrine of recompense, inasmuch as 
the latter, as already shown, was only capable of being 
reconciled with the doctrine of a creation, if for the single 
creation taught in the ancient Upanishads there was 
substituted an eternally recurring process, a re-creation 
of the universe occurring after each dissolution, and de- 
termined by the actions of the souls. On its very first 
appearance the doctrine of the dissolution of the universe 
is connected with that of recompense, as is shown by the 
passages quoted above,^ and especially S Vet. 6. 4 (" where 
they are not, there work comes to nought"). Whether 
however the original motive for the doctrine of the dissolu- 
tion and periodical reconstruction of the universe lay in the 
wish to maintain, after the manner of the later Veddnta, 
the traditional doctrine of creation side by side with the 
later doctrine of recompense; or only in the natural 
attempt to generalise the dissolution of objects, which 
experience showed to be the case, into a universal 
dissolution, just as the entire doctrine of a creation 
of the universe originally rested on a generalisation of 
the observed origin of individuals, — ^to decide this is 
perhaps not possible in presence of the partial and 
ambiguous expressions of the S vet. Upanishad. 

IX. The Unreality of the Universe 

1. The Doctrine o/Mdyd as the Basis of all Philosophy 

When Kant in his inquiry into the capability of the 
human intellect drew the conclusion that the entire 

ip. 224f. 


universe, as we know it, is only appearance and not 
reality, he said nothing absolutely new, but only in more 
intelligible demonstrated form uttered a truth which in 
less intelligible shape had been in existence long before 
him ; which indeed as intuitive half-unconscious know- 
ledge had from the very beginning formed the basis of all 
philosophy. For if the objects of the universe were not, 
as Kant asserted, mere phenomena, but exactly as they 
appear to our consciousness in space and time had a real 
existence apart from that consciousness and in themselves, 
then an empirical discussion and inquiry into nature 
would lead to final and sufficient conclusions respecting 
the essence of things. In opposition to this empirical 
method of treatment philosophy from the very beginning 
has endeavoured to find the essential nature, or as it is 
usually expressed, the first principle of the universe. This 
search moreover always assumes the consciousness, even if 
still quite undefined, that this first principle, this essence 
of things, is not given already in the objects themselves, 
as they present themselves to our eyes in space and time ; 
that, in other words, the entire aggregate of experience, 
external and internal, always shows us merely how things 
appear to us, not how they are in themselves. And the 
more definitely conscious the several schools of philosophy 
are of their proper function as opposed to the empirical 
science, the more clearly does this knowledge come to the 
front. This is the case in Greek philosophy, when 
Parmenides asserts the empirical reality to be mere 
show, or Plato to be mere shadows ^ of the true reality ; 
and in Indian philosophy, when the Upanishads teach 
that this universe is not the fitman, the proper "self" of 
things, but a mere mdyd, a deception, an iUusion, and 
that the empirical knowledge of it yields no vidyd, 
no true knowledge, but remains entangled in avidyd in 

^ Rep. vii. i. 


ignorance. Since the expression mdyd in this sense can be 
pointed out only comparatively late, not earlier, that is to 
say, than S Vet. 4. 10, the theory has been propounded that 
we ought to recognise in this doctrine a secondary specula- 
tion only developed in course of time from the theory of 
the universe adopted in the Upanishads. We propose now 
to show that this is not the case, but rather that the older 
the texts of the Upanishads are, the more uncompromisingly 
and expressly do they maintain this illusory character of the 
world of experience ; but that this peculiar and apparently 
far-fetched idea is seldom expressed in absolute simplicity, 
and usually appears under forms which are completely ex- 
plained as an adoption of the empirical modes of knowledge 
which are natural to us all, and refuse to be shaken off. 

2. The Doctrine of M6yd in the Upanishads 

There are in the literature of the Upanishads some 
texts which, judged by all external and internal criteria, 
claim a higher antiquity than others; as for example 
the chapters of the Brihadfiranyaka Upanishad, where 
Yajnavalkhya's views of the universe are developed.^ We 
shall see how in these chapters more distinctly than in any 
other place the doctrine of the sole reality of the fitman 
and the unreality of a manifold universe outside of the 
S.tman is enunciated. First however we propose to show 
how, as early as the ancient Vedic philosophy that 
preceded the Upanishads, the seed was sown which by 
Yajfiavalkhya, whoever he may have been, was developed 
into the great fundamental thought of the Upanishads, 
which occupies the attention of all succeeding ages. 

We saw* how as early as the later hymns of the 
Rigveda the thought was introduced, which here as 
always marks the first step in philosophy, the thought 

1 Brih. 2. 4, and 3. 1-4. 6. 

* AUgemeine EiiiUitung u. PhUoiophie d. Vedct^ pp. 103-127. 


of the unity of existence. It involves, if only in germ 
and half unconsciously, the knowledge that all plurality 
— consequently all proximity in space, all succession in 
time, all interdependence of cause and effect, all contrast 
of subject and object — has no reality in the highest sense. 
When it is said in Rigv. I. 164. 46 : — ekam sad viprd 
hdhudhd vadant% " the poets give many names to that 
which is only one," it is implied therein that plurality 
depends solely upon words ("a mere matter of words," as 
it is said later),^ and that unity alone is real. In the 
attempt also to define more closely this unity, as we have 
traced it through the period of the Hymns and the 
Brahmanas, the thought more or less clearly finds ex- 
pression that it is not plurality that is real, but only 
unity ; — " the one, besides which there was no other " ; * 
" the one, inserted into the everlasting nave, in which all 
living beings are fixed." • When also it is said : — " This 
entire universe is the purusha alone, both that which was 
and that which endures for the future," * it is implied that 
in the entire universe, in all past and future, the one and 
only purusha is the sole real. The common people how- 
ever do not know this ; they regard as the real not the 
stem, but " that which he is not, the branches that conceal 
him " ; * for that " in which gods and men are fixed like 
spokes in the nave," the " flower of the water " {i.e. 
Brahman as ffiranyagarbha), "is concealed by illusion."* 
This idealism, which denies the existence of the manifold 
universe, gained strength and complete definition by the 
introduction and ever firmer grasp of the conception of the 

1 Chand. 6. 1. 3. * Rigv. X. 129. 2. 

3 Rigv. X. 82. 6. * Rigv. X. 90. 2. 

* asac'-chdkhdm pratishihanflmy Atharvav. X. 7. 21 ; cp. also Dhyanab. 10. 

* mdyd, Atharvav. X. 8. 34 ; on passages like these, and the verse Rigv. 
VI. 47. 18, interpreted in a similar sense as early as Bph. 2. 5. 19, — indro 
Tndydbhih pururApa^ tyaUy— the later introduction of the term mdyd into 
philosophy in S'vet. 4. 10 may depend. 


dtman or self. This conception, as has often been pointed 
out, is essentially negative, and to that end claims to strip 
off from an object all that can be stripped from it, which 
therefore does not belong to the inalienable substance of 
its self, and is accordingly not-self. So long as only the 
atman of an individual was taken into consideration, this 
not-self might perhaps be the self of another individual, 
and consequently real ; so soon however as the conception 
of the fitman of the universe, the " great omnipresent 
atman," ^ which is " greater than heaven space and earth," * 
was attained, that which as not-self was excluded from 
the fttman was by that very fact excluded from the sum 
of being, and therefore from reality. This cosmical Stman 
moreover, which admits no reality outside of itself, was at 
the same time present, small as a grain of rice," etc.,' 
whole and undivided in a man's own self; and this 
identity of the cosmical and the psychical principle was 
always visibly preserved by the word S,tman : — the self in 
us is the pathfinder of the great omnipresent Atman.* It 
is precisely this thought that is the starting-point of the 
teaching of the Upanishads, as it recurs almost word for 
word in the first instance in one of the oldest texts, Brih. 
1. 4. 7 (which rests on the authority of YSjnavalkhya, 
Brih. 1. 4. 3): — "this therefore is the trace of the 
universe, which is the ^tman here (in us), for in it man 
recognises the entire universe, . . . therefore is this dearer 
than a son, dearer than a kingdom, dearer than all else ; 
for it is closer than all, for it is this soul {dtmany^ 

A further amplification of this thought, which as 
already jsaid goes back probably to the authority of 
Yajnavalkhya, is found in the discourses of Y&jnavalkhya 
with his wife Maitreyl, the high antiquity of which is 
testified both on internal grounds and by the double 

1 Taitt. Brah. 3. 12. 9. 7. « S'atap. Brali. X. 6. 3. 

» S'atap. Br&h. X. 6. 3. * Taitt. Br&h. 3. 12. 9. 7. 


recension of it, in two collections which antedate our 
Upanishad, and were first united with it at a later period.^ 
Yajnavalkhya begins his instruction with the sentence : — 
"In truth, not for the husband's sake is the husband 
dear, but for the self s sake is the husband dear." The 
same is then asserted, with constant repetition of this 
formula, of wife, sons, kingdom. Brahman and warrior 
castes, world- regions, gods, living creatures, and the 
universe ; they are all dear, not on their own account, 
but for the sake of the self. By the self is to be under- 
stood here, as the conclusion of the paragraph shows,* 
the consciousness, the knowing subject within us. And 
the thought is that all objects and relations of the 
universe exist for us, and are known and loved by us 
only in so far as they enter into our consciousness, 
which comprehends in itself all the objects of the universe, 
and has nothing outside of itself. Therefore it is said 
further : — " The self in truth we should comprehend, 
should reflect upon, Maitreyt He who has seen, heard, 
comprehended and known the self, by him this entire 
universe is known." As the notes of a drum, a conch- 
shell, or a lute have no existence in themselves, and can 
only be received when the instrument that produces them 
is struck, so all objects and relations of the universe are 
known by him who knows the &tman.* In the S,tman as 
the knowing subject space with all its contents is inter- 
woven ; * all the heavenly regions are its organs ; * the 
universe of names forms and works, "although it is 
threefold is one, that is the S,tman " ; he is the immortal, 
which is concealed by the (empirical) reality ,* he is the 
reality of reality ; ^ from him spring forth, as sparks from 

^ Brih. 2. 4 and 4. 5 ; cp. Deussen, Upan., pp. 376-378. 

» Brih. 2. 4. 14. » Bpih. 2. 4. 7-9. 

* Brih. 3. 8. 11, 4. 4. 17. » Brih. 4. 2. 4. 

^ amritam saJtyena channam, Byih. 1. 6. 3. 

^ satyasya saiyam, i.e. that of the reality which is truly real. 


the fire, all the vital spirits, all worlds, all gods, all 
living creatures ; ^ in him they all are fixed, like spokes 
in the nave of a wheel;* "he oversteps in sleep this 
universe, and the forms of death " ; * only " as it were " 
he plans and moves;* only "as it were" is there a 
duality;* only "as it were" does another exist ;• he 
stands as spectator alone and without a second;^ there 
is in no wise a plurality : ® — 

In thought should it be heeded. 
Here is no plurality anywhere; 
By death is he bound fast to death 
Who here contemplates plurality. 

The passages quoted belong almost entirely to the 
oldest Upanishad literature that we possess, and thus 
we meet, not for the first time in the later stream of 
this literature but equally at its beginning, a distinct 
entirely self-consistent idealism, connected with the 
name of Y&jnavalkhya, and according to which the atman, 
i.e. the knowing subject, is the sustainer of the universe 
and the sole reality ; so that with the knowledge of the 
&tman all is known. This thought which first makes its 
appearance in the discourses of Y&jfiavalkhya in the 
Brihad&ranyaka is never again surrendered, and dominates, 
it is true with certain empirical modifications of which 
it will be necessary subsequently to treat, the entire 
development of the doctrine of the Upanishads up to 
its conclusion with B&darayana and Sankara. In the 
Upanishads we find it appearing in different forms. Thus 
upon it depends the question, which stands at the com- 
mencement of the Mund. 1. 3 : — " What is that, most 
worthy sir, with the knowledge of which this entire 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 20. « Brih. 2. 5. 16. 

• mrityo HH/pdniy Byih. 4. 3. 7. * Brih. 4. 3. 7. 

» Bfih. 2. 4. 14. • Brih. 4. 3. 31. 

' Bfih. 4. 3. 32. • Brih. 4. 4. 19. 


universe becomes known." The same question moreover, 
going back to Brih. 2. 4. 5 (and 1. 4. 7), forms also the 
starting-point of a text so old as Ch^nd. 6. 1. 2 : — " Have 
you then sought for the instruction according to which 
(even) the unheard becomes (already) heard, the uncom- 
prehended comprehended, the unknown known?" The 
expressions s'ruta/m^ matam^ vijndtam recurring here 
already in the same form suggest a dependence of this 
passage on Brih. 2. 4. 5. In another way also we seem 
to be able to render this dependence very probable. We 
have already above found the Ch&ndogya Upanishad 
reproducing word for word the passage in Brih. 3. 8. 9 
touching the fitman as holding apart the phenomenal 
forms of the universe, as it was condensed in the descrip- 
tion of the &tman as " the bridge that holds apart from 
one another," ^ and betraying its dependence on the first 
passage by the fact that it no longer correctly interprets 
the meaning of the repeated words, since inmiediately 
after it represents the bridge separating the phenomenal 
forms of the universe as a bridge uniting the present world 
with the next. The case is exactly similar when the 
assertion of Brih. 2. 4. 5 that with the knowledge of the 
&tman all is known reappears in Ch4nd. 6. 1. 2 in the 
request for the instruction by which even that which is 
still unheard, uncomprehended, unknown becomes already 
heard, comprehended, known. For the true answer to 
this request clearly consists in the fact that, as Brih. 
2. 4. 5 and Mund. 1. 1. 3 agree in stating, with the 
knowledge of the &tman all is known. The author 
however of Chand. 6. 1 f. does not give this answer, 
but develops instead of it his theory of the three 
primitive elements, heat water and food, with the 
knowledge of which everything in the universe is known, 

^ Bfih. 4. 4. 22 : — esha setur vidharana* eshdm lokdndm cuambheddya ; cp. 
«a ietur vidhfitir eshdm lokdndm aaainbhftddyoj Ch&nd. 8. 4. 2. 


because it is only a compound of these ; ^ and further, in 
the three similes of the (white) clay, the (red) copper, 
and the (black) iron,* this tracing back of the white red 
and black element in things to water heat and 
food is already foreshadowed. The author therefore 
has failed to understand the meaning of the request for 
that with the knowledge of which all is known {i.e. for 
the one S,tman); or rather, has intentionally altered it, 
and that in a sense which, while he sees the unchangeable 
not only in the " one without a second," but in his triple 
classification also into heat, water and food, abandons the 
monism of the doctrine of the Upanishads and arrives 
at a triad of invariable essences combined in unity, 
thereby laying the earliest foundation for the Sankhya 
doctrine of prahriti and the three gurias combined in it. 
Otherwise and apart from this resolution of the unity 
into a triad, he holds fast to the fundamental proposition 
of Y&jnavalkhya, asserting that all change is "a mere 
matter of words, a simple name," and that in truth there 
are only heat, water and food,* although these last 
also, according to his own theory,* are merely trans- 
formations of the " one without a second." Therefore as a 
matter of inference in any case the qualification " depend- 
ing on words and a mere name " would seem to underlie 
his judgement. All this shows that here the fundamental 
monistic position of Y&jnavalkhya has been taken over from 
tradition, but its bearing is no longer perfectly understood. 
We meet further on with the same fundamental 
principle of the sole reality of the S,tman (the knov/ing 
subject) and the unreality of all else, when it is said in 
Taitt. 2. 6 of the empirical reality : — " for this men call 
reality " ; and when in Ait. 3. 3 it is explained that all 
the phenomena of the universe are " guided by conscious- 

1 Chdnd. 6. 4. * Very different from the similes of Brih. 2. 4. 7f. 

» Ch&nd. 6. 4. * Ch&nd. 6. 2. 


ness, founded in consciousness " ; and when in Kaush. 3. 8 
the proposition " this also is still a plurality " is interpreted 
to mean that as the spokes in the nave so " the elements 
of being are fixed in the elements of consciousness, and 
the elements of consciousness in the pr&na," seeing that it is 
the self of consciousness and bliss, undecaying and immortal. 
In later Upanishads we have to note that the 
emphatic denial of plurality in the verse quoted from 
Brih. 4. 4. 19 is repeated and amplified in the verses 
Kath. 4. 10-11; and that finally, in Svet. 4. 10, the 
advance of the realistic spirit of the S&nkhya is opposed 
by the assertion that the whole of prakriti is mere 
mdyd. Faithful to the fundamental principle of 
Yajnavalkhya, the ls'& Upanishad in its opening words 
requires us " to sink the universe in God," and adds to 
the denial of plurality in verses 12-14 the denial of 
change. Mund. 1. 1. 3 makes inquiry, as has been shown, 
for the dtman as that with the knowledge of which all 
is known. M&ndukya 7 describes the S,tman as " effacing 
the entire expanse of the universe, tranquil, blissful, firee 
from duality." And even the late Maitr. Up. 6. 24 
explains the proposition that all plurality is mere appear- 
ance by the brilliant comparison of the ktmsm with an 
aldtacakram, a spark which, made to revolve, appears 
as a fiery circle. An expansion of this illustration is 
given by Gaudapada in the Mandukya K&rik& 4. 47-52 ; 
and this entire work is in general an eloquent exposition 
of the thought of the sole reality of the ^tman, which 
is traced back to the oldest Upanishad texts, and is 
thenceforward uninterruptedly maintained. 

3. The Doctmne of Mdyd as it is presented under 
Emjnrical Forms 

The philosophy of Yajnavalkhya, as it meets us in 
the Brihad. Up., can be comprised in the sentence : — The 


&tman is the knowing subject in us. Hence it follows 
immediately: — (1) That the atman, as the knowing 
subject, is itself always unknowable ; (2) that there is not 
and never can be for us reality outside of the S,tman (a 
universe outside of our consciousness). Both consequences 
are recognised and clearly stated by YSjnavalkhya ; they 
mark the climax of the philosophical conceptions of the 
Upanishads, the first for theology, the second for cos- 
mology ; and together they seem to bar any further pro- 
gress in philosophical thought. The inquiring mind of man 
could not however rest here ; in spite of the unknowable- 
ness of the &tman, it proceeded to treat the &tman (i.e. 
God) as an object of knowledge; and in spite of the 
unreality of the universe outside of the atman it proceeded 
to concern itself with the universe as though it were real 
This gives rise in theology to numerous methods of repre- 
senting the S,tman by the help of metaphor, and these, 
though they are based upon an inadmissible drawing of 
the S,tman down into the sphere of human knowledge, 
play around the accepted fundamental dogma of the un- 
knowableness of the S.tman, and are resolved again into it. 
And the result of this very application of the categories 
of empirical knowledge beyond their rightful limits is that 
in the cosmology the traditional pantheistic, cosmogonistic 
and theistic ideas re-assert themselves even subsequent 
to the knowledge of the sole reality of the S.tman ; while 
they endeavour in various ways to bring a firm convic- 
tion of the reality of the external universe, such as is 
derived from the empirical capacity of the intellect, into 
harmony with this fundamental doctrine of the sole reality 
of the atman. The fundamental doctrine is thus clothed 
in the empirical forms of knowledge which are innate 
within us and assert their right ; while the metaphysical 
dogma is gradually more and more superseded by empirical 
intellectual methods. In this way is originated a series 


of conceptions which, following up what has already been 
said, we propose here at the close briefly to survey ; 
they remodel the original idealism into the theories of 
pantheism, cosmogonism, theism, atheism and deism. 

(1) Idealism. — The S,tman is the sole reality; with 
the knowledge of it all is known ; there is no plurality 
and no change. Nature which presents the appearance 
of plurality and change is a mere illusion (mdyd). 

(2) Pantheism. — ^The fundamental idealistic view, 
whose originality and high antiquity is certified by the texts 
of Y&jnavalkhya, unites with the conviction of the reality 
of the external universe, founded on the empirical view, to 
form the doctrine which occupies the largest place in the 
Upanishads. The universe is real, and yet the &tman is the 
sole reality, for the &tman is the entire universe. We may 
describe this theory as pantheistic, although in its origin it 
is very different from modem pantheism. The pantheism 
of the later philosophy has been developed as an inevitable 
consequence from the theism of the Middle Ages; the 
pantheism of the Upanishads is foimded on the attempt 
to assert the doctrine of the sole reality of the atman over- 
against the obtrusive reality of the manifold universe. 
The Upanishads find a peculiar pleasure in identifying the 
S,tman as the infinitely small within us with the S.tman 
as the infinitely great outside of us. 

(3) Cosmogonism. — The identity of the &tman and the 
universe could never be more than a mere assertion. In 
order to make it intelligible, a further step was necessary 
which transformed empirical methods of regarding things 
into metaphysical by substituting for an identity, perpetu- 
ally asserted but never comprehensible, the relation of 
causality that experience had made familiar, and by 
conceiving the S,tman as cause, which produced the uni- 
verse from itself as effect. It then became possible to return 
to the old cosmogonies, and to revive them on the basis 


of the originally antagonistic Upanishad doctrine. After 
creating the universe the atman enters into it as soul. 
By this definition the doctrine that the &tman, i.e. the 
self, the soul in us, is identical with the first principle of 
all things, is brought into harmony with the doctrine of 
a creation of the universe out of the &tman. 

(4) Theism. — The doctrine that the &tman created the 
universe, and then as soul entered into it, is not yet theism. 
This step is first taken when a distinction is drawn between 
the atman as creator of the universe and the S,tman entering 
into the creation, i.e. between the supreme and the indi- 
vidual soul. They are opposed, at first insensibly, as light 
and shadow,^ then with ever-increasing clearness, until the 
complete theism of the S vet&s'vatara Upanishad is attained. 
It is characteristic of this work that, side by side with its 
proper theism, all the preliminary steps are retained. 

(5) Atheism. — By this separation of God and the soul 
the existence of God himself was brought into question. 
The soul was contrasted with him, existed therefore in- 
dependently and apart from him. The sole function 
remaining for God was to fashion forth material nature as 
the arena of recompense for the actions committed by the 
independent souls. It was only necessary to transfer the 
powers needful for this purpose to matter itself, and God 
as creator of the universe would be superfluous. Hence- 
forward there exist only souls {purusha), burdened with 
their actions and receiving recompense from birth to 
birth, and the primitive matter (prakriti), which evolves 
from itself perpetually anew the stage for this recompense. 
This is the transition from the VedS.nta doctrine of the 
Upanishads to the S&nkhya system, the origin of which 
from the Upanishad teaching will be more closely con- 
sidered in the next chapter. 

(6) Deism. — When from considerations of practical 

> K&th. 3. 1. 


convenience there is attached to the atheistic S&nkhya 
teaching, in a purely external manner and without affect- 
ing the essential principles of the system, the doctrine of 
a personal god, there is produced the Yoga system, which 
will be discussed later, and which is rather deistic than 
theistic. It is distinguished from the deism of later times 
by the fact that the latter had endeavoured to find a safe 
method of eliminating from the natural order of things 
God who had been retained only nominally as cause of 
the universe ; while the Yoga was concerned to restore the 
conception of God already eliminated in the S&nkhya to 
a system which had been devised without it. The two 
methods lead to the same result. The system stands by 
itself ; and the conception of God is preserved side by side 
with it, but exerts no further influence on its teaching. 

X. The Origin of the SInkhya System 

1. Brief Survey of the Doctrine of the Sdnkhya 

The rise of the S&nkhya system, the authorship of 
which is attributed to the entirely mythical Kapila, is 
one of the most diflficult and obscure problems in the 
region of Indian philosophy. Our previous investigations 
will enable us to face this question from the right 
standpoint. It will be shown that the Sankhya in all its 
component parts has grown out of the Ved&nta of the 
Upanishads, and is nothing more than an extreme carrying 
out of the realistic tendency, whose appearance and 
gradually increasing influence we have already traced 
within the limits of Upanishad teaching itself, in the 
pantheistic cosmogonistic and theistic changes of the 
fundamental idealistic view. We premise a brief summary 
of the leading points of the later Sankhya teaching, since 
this is essential for the understanding of what follows. 


The fundamental conception and ultimate assumption 
of the system is the dualism of prahriti (nature) and 
purusha (spirit). There exist together with and in one 
another from eternity two entirely distinct essences, but 
no attempt even is made to derive them from a higher 
unity or to trace them back to it. 

(1) The purusha, already existing from the fibrst as a* 
plurality, the knowing subject, as it is disengaged from 
and contrasted with all that is objective. 

(2) The prakriti (pradhdnam), comprising everything 
that is not purusha or subject, everything therefore which 
in any way has merely an objective existence, whether it 
is stUl undeveloped {avyaktam, natura naturans), or 
already developed {vyaktam, natura naturata). 

Ptcrusha and prakriti, subject and object, are closely 
connected together from eternity, or rather appear to be 
so, and the sufferings of existence are dependent on this 
apparent connection, the removal of which the SS.nkhya 
system sets before itself as its proper aim. 

This object is attained as soon as the purusha re- 
cognises its entire distinctness (viveka) from the prakriti. 
This separateness has existed in fact from the beginning, 
but unknown to itself; when once this knowledge has been 
gained, none of the sufferings of the universe are any 
longer its sufferings. But they are also no longer those 
of prakyiti, since all the latter s sufferings, as soon as it 
ceases to be "reflected" in the purusha, or "enlightened" 
by him, are no longer experienced and consequently are 
no longer sufferings. Deliverance is found in the dissolu- 
tion of this bond between purusha and prakyiti, which has 
an only apparent existence from eternity. For the 
purusha this consists merely in its ceasing to illuminate 
the sufferings of prakriti ; for prakriti, on the other hand, 
in that its sufferings are no longer illuminated, con- 
sequently are no longer experienced, and therefore cease 


to be sufferings. Deliverance is therefore an event which 
does not concern the purusha (to it nothing happens), but 
the prakriti ; whence is derived the assertion, strange at 
first sight, that " not the purusha, but the prakyiti only is 
fettered, is a wanderer, and delivered." ^ 

This process of deliverance is to be conceived as in- 
dividual. There are a multitude of purushas existing from 
the beginning. Some of these attain to knowledge, others 
do not ; the prakriti which is attached to the one gains 
deliverance, but not that which is bound to the other. 
The inference is that for prakriti also the process of 
deliverance is not cosmical but psychical and individual. 
The plurality of purushas involves a plurality if not of 
the prakriti, yet of that element in it which enters into 
activity. Behind the prakriti again, individualised as the 
lingcm^y stands the universal cosmical prakriti, of which 
no further mention is made. In any case, the entire 
process, which we have now to describe, is to be conceived 
as repeated for each individual purusha, and therefore as 
psychical and individual. 

The prakriti, in order to bring about in the purusha 
the recognition of its distinctness, and therewith its own 
release, unfolds itself repeatedly before the eye of the 
purusha. Since the purusha is individual, the self- 
unfolding of the prakriti, which ceases in the case of the 
purushas that have been delivered, but is perpetually 
renewed in the case of the imprisoned ones until they 
gain deliverance, must be conceived as individual. It 
consists in the evolution of the Mahdn (the Buddhi^ " the 
great," "the consciousness") from the prakriti, of the 
Ahankdra (the **I-maker") from the MahdUy and from 
the Ahankdra on the one hand manas and the ten 
indriyas (the organs of knowledge and of action), and on 
the other hand the five tanmdtras (subtle elements), and 

^ S&&khya-k&rikfi 62. 


from these finally the five hMtds (elements). The follow- 
ing scheme may serve to mark the relation : — 

Prakriti 11 Purtisha 

Mahdn (Buddhi) 



5 Tanmdtras Manas and 10 Indriyas 

5 BMtas. 

The eighteen first products of prakriti, viz. — mahdn, 
ahankdra, manas, indriyaSy and tanmdtras, form the 
subtle body, which surrounds the soul, and accompanies it 
on all its wanderings. It is termed lingam, because it is the 
" mark " by which the different purushas are distinguished ; 
for in themselves these collectively are mere knowing sub- 
jects and nothing more, and would consequently be com- 
pletely identical and indistinguishable, if they had not 
their proper lingas (empirical characteristics), differing 
from one another. All lingas of course originate from the 
one prakriti ; but the latter consists of the three gunas 
(best translated "factors"; cp. gunayati, "to multiply") 
sattvam (the light, clear, intellectual), rajas (the active, 
strenuous, emotional), and tomcw (the dark, gloomy, inert) ; 
and the diffierent qualities of the lingas depend upon the 
different combination of the three gunas. The proportion 
of the three gunas in the lingam appears to vary, and to 
this cause are due the fifty hhdvas or states of the lingam. 

Every life-history is a new self-unfolding of the prakriti 
before the purusha concerned by means of the lingam. 
From the tanm&tras contained in the lingam arise (afresh, 


as we must suppose, at each self-unfolding, each life- 
history) the bMtas or gross elements (ether, wind, fire, 
water, earth). The consequence is (1) that each purusha, 
as it has its own lingam, possesses also its own gross world 
of matter, arising out of it ; and (2) that for the purusha 
which has gained deliverance, since there is no further 
unfolding of the lingam, no gross world of matter any 
longer exists. So that the S&nkhya system also is 
essentially idealistic, strenuous opponents as its inter- 
preters are of the idealism of the Buddhists. 

Certainly behind the individual unfoldings of prakriti 
by vtahdUy ahankd/ray manas, etc., there must exist a 
corresponding general unfolding of a cosmical mahdrhy 
ahahkdray manas, etc. Yet this thought occurs quite 
incidentally, plays no part, and seems like a forced conces- 
sion to realism. It is impossible in fact to see what 
purpose it would serve, since each lingam evolves from 
itself afresh in each life-history the five gross elements, 
and therefore the external world of matter. 

The original purpose of the system appears to have 
been different. The entrance of the dhankdra or " I- 
maker " into the order of development points to this, and 
is only intelligible if it is in it that the transition lies from 
an evolution that is universal and cosmical to one that is 
psychical. The prakriti common to all is undoubtedly 
cosmical, and the huddhi also seems to be cosmical, as 
its name mahdn, " the great," indicates, as the intelUgence 
that issues from the unconscious and sustains the pheno- 
menal universe ; ^ a psychical offshoot of it however as indi- 
vidual huddhi is introduced into the lingam. The essential 
element of the lingam is therefore the ahankdra^ as the 
principle of individualisation, from which are derived on 
the one hand the individual intelligence (manas and the 
indriyas), on the other hand the tanmdtras, and from 

^ The Hirariyagarbha of the Vedanta. 


the latter the gross elements, renewed for each individual. 
When finally the interpreters justify the series huddhiy 
ahankdra, manas by pointing out that the manas frames 
the ideas, the ahankdra appropriates them to itself 
individually, and the huddhi stamps them as resolves 
(adhyavasdya), a dependence of the huddhi on ahankdra 
and manas would be inferred ; which again would lead us 
to expect precisely the reverse genealogical succession. 

The more closely this system is investigated the more un- 
satisfactory and incomprehensible from a philosophical point 
of view will it be found to be. The whole becomes intelligible 
for the first time when we regard it as the final resultant and 
the blending together of a series of very heterogeneous ideas, 
which have been handed down from earlier times, and the 
origin of which we propose now to point out in detail 

2. Origin of Dualism 

As there can be, to use popular language, only one 
God and no more, so it is involved in the nature of a 
philosophical principle to be a unity, from which the 
variety of the phenomenal universe is derived. It follows 
that monism is the natural standpoint of philosophy, and 
wherever dualism has appeared in its history it has 
always been the consequence of antecedent stress and 
difficulty, and as it were a symptom of the wane of the 
philosophising spirit ; just as the dualism of Empedokles, 
Anaxagoras and Democritus was occasioned by the 
apparently irreconcilable opposition of the doctrines of 
Heracleitus and Parmenides, and the dualism of Descartes 
had its ultimate source in the unnatural separation of the 
abstract and the concrete representations {cogitatio and 
extensio), which began with Plato and Aristotle. In a 
similar way the dualism of the Sankhya doctrine also cannot 
be regarded as a primitive view of nature ; for how should 
two principles like purusha and prakriti, distinct from 


first to last, be accidentally lighted upon in infinite space 
and infinite time, and further be so marvellously suited 
to one another that they could unite to evolve a 
universe ? The result attained is rather to be conceived 
as the consequence of a natural disintegration of the 
doctrine of the Upanishads, as we propose now to show. 

The thought of the Upanishads in its pantheistic form 
asserted, as above shown, that Brahman created the 
universe and then as soul entered into it.^ The individual 
soul is in no respect different from Brahman, but is very 
Brahman complete and entire. Individuality as much 
as the plurality of souls is mere appearance. This 
appearance however is transformed into reality as the 
method of empirical knowledge gains acceptance. Pan- 
theism becomes theism, according to which the individual 
soul makes its appearance over-against the supreme soul 
with a reality of its own, and the result is the plurality 
of individual souls, — the first dogma which divides the 
Sankhya from the Ved&nta, and consequently the first 
reductio ad ahsurdum of this theory of the universe. 
For the soul remains as before, in accordance with 
Yajnavalkhya's teaching, the knowing subject. A 
plurality of knowing subjects ! What philosophical mind 
can admit this thought? The knowing subject is in me 
(aham hrahma asmi) and nowhere else, for everything 
beside me is object, and for this very reason not subject. 

A further consequence of theism is atheism. The divi- 
sion of the atman into supreme and individual souls must 
lead to the destruction of the one branch, the supreme 
soul, since it had derived its vital force solely from the 
atman existing in me, which indeed alone exists. After 
its separation from the latter it could only with difficulty 
be maintained at all. No more was necessary than tx) 
transfer the creative faculties (the (junas, viz. — sattvam, 

1 tat sfuhtvd tad eva anuprdviM'ai, Taitt 2. 6. 


rajas and tamas) to matter itself, and God became 
superfluous. The SVet. Up. protests in vain against 
the irruption of the realistic tendency, in vain asserts 
that it is the divine power that lies hidden in its own 
gunas,^ that the threads of the web of the pradhdnas 
proceed only from God,* that indeed the entire prakriti is 
only an illusion wrought by God.'* When the existence of 
God was no longer certified by my &tman, the attestation 
of him in general ceased to be sufficiently strong to prevent 
his being abandoned by the unscrupulous realism of the 
Sankhya ; and in this way from the ancient trinity (god, 
universe, and soul), which was in reality a unity,* the 
dualism of prakriti and purusha originated. Nothing 
further could then be determined as to their origin, or 
how they came to be so suited to one another as to be 
able to combine for a common end, as the strong man 
blind and the lame man with sight.^ 

3. Origin of the Evolutionary Series 

As early as the cosmogony of the Rigveda there usually 
appears at the head of the development of the universe a 
triad of principles, in so far as (1) the primal being evolves 
from out of himself, (2) primitive matter, and himself 
takes form in the latter as (3) the first-born of creation.* 
This series of the three first principles, which becomes 
more and more typical, is the ultimate basis of the 
three highest principles of the Sankhya, — (1) purusha 
(2) prakriti, and (3) mahdn (buddhi) ; except that the 
purusha, in consequence of its division into supreme and 
individual souls, and the consequent inevitable destruction 
of the first (the primal being), continues to exist only in 

1 S'vet 1. 3. « S'vet, 6. 10. 

* S'vet. 4. 10, mdydm tu prakritim vidyddy mdyinam tu mahes'varam. 

* S'vet 1. 7. 12, etc • Sftnkhya-k&rika 21. 

* Hinu^yctgarbhOf Brahmdn ; 9up. p. 182 f . 


its derivatives, the individual souls. And these last as such 
are no longer a first principle, but, as was shown in the 
previous section, appear in co-ordination contrasted with 
the prakriti. An early foreshadowing of this view may 
be found already in Byih. 1. 4. 6, when it is said : — " This 
only, food and eater, is this entire universe." These words 
are at any rate interpreted of prakriti and purusha in the 
oldest exposition of the Sankhya philosophy known to 
us ^ in a chapter which by the direct contrast it sets up 
between purusha and prakriti opposes itself not only to 
the teaching of the Upanishads, even where a tendency 
towards the Sankhya is already observable, but also to 
the remaining parts of the same Upanishad.* This origin 
of the three highest principles of the S&nkhya explains 
also the phenomenon which was formerly unintelligible, 
that the intellectual element, after having been assigned 
to the purusha (the knowing subject), and therefore 
apparently dismissed, re-appears on the objective side 
as huddhi or mahdn, i.e. " the great." This term appears 
(as far as we know) in all the passages where the gender 
can be determined to be masculine,* and is found as early 
as the Upanishads. So perhaps in the verse quotation 
Kaush. 1. 7 in the form rishir hrahmamayo mahdn ; as 
the mahdn dtmd of K&th. 3. 10, 13 and 6. 7 ; as the 
agi^ah purusho mahdn of SVet. 3. 19, understanding 
the expression to mean " the first arisen great purusha," 
and therefore identifying it with the hiranya^arbha of 
3. 4, 4. 12, the rishih kapilah agre pras^tah of 5. 2, the 
jnah sarvagah of 6. 17, and the Brahmdn of 6. 18, to 
whom the primal being delivered the Vedas, and from 
whom ancient wisdom has issued forth in 4. 18. It is, as 
a comparison of these passages proves, Hiranyagarhha, 

1 Maitr. 6. 10. « $.g. 6. 2 and 6. 11-13. 

' It occurs mostly in compounds as makad-ddiy mahaJt'tattvamy " the 
essence of the great'' 


first-born in Rig v. X. 121 from the primeval waters, the 
intelligent principle of the universe, the mind as sustainer 
of the phenomenal universe, which divested of mythological 
form comes forth in the S&nkhya as the mahdn, the cosmical 
huddhiy from the prakritL From this in turn the 
ahankdra as the individual principle is evolved, on which 
again depend the individual organs of knowledge {maruis 
and indriyas)y and their objects {tanmdtras, bMtds). By 
its entrance into the lingam (the psychical organism) the 
mah&n or buddhi acquires a psychical significance as the 
organ of judgement by the side of its original cosmical 

At the basis of the entire formation of this series 
appears to be the thought that evolution from the 
primeval being adopts the same order as the return into 
it, only in a reverse direction. Now the Upanishads teach 
a threefold return into Brahman, — (1) in sleep, (2) in 
death, and (3) in yoga ; and in the description of this 
threefold entrance into Brahman all the principles 
gradually come to light which in the evolutionary 
scheme of the Sftnkhya are united into one. We will 
establish this in a few leading passages. 

(1) In the deep sleep, which is an entrance into Brah- 
man, according to Ch&nd. 4. 3. 3, speech, eye, ear and 
manas enter into the pr&na ; and according to Prasna 
4, in dream-sleep the indriyas enter into manas, and both 
in deep sleep into the tejas. In the words that follow ^ the 
entrance of the five bhAtas and the five tanm&tras into 
the &tman is described, together with the five organs of 
knowledge and the five of action, and also manas, buddhi, 
ahank&ra,c'ittam, tejas, prana, and the functions that belong 
to them. It is not expressly stated that the order of 
entrance corresponds to the series given from last to first, 
but on the analogy of other passages it is quite admissible. 

iPra8'na4. 7flf. 



(2) At death, according to Chand. 6. 8. 6,^ speech 
enters into manas, manas into prana, prana into tejas, 
tejas into the supreme godhead. Just as here by speech 
all the indriyas are apparently intended, so by tejas we 
seem to be obliged to understand all the three primeval 
elements {tejas, dpas, annam, of which indeed, according to 
Chand. 6. 5. 4, speech, pr&na and manas consist), which, as 
we shall see later, have been developed into prakriti with 
its three gunas. 

(3) In yoga, according to K&th. 3. 10-13,* the senses 
and their objects are absorbed into manas, the latter 
into buddhi ( =jndnd' dtmd = sattvam), this again into 
mahdn dtmd, and this finally into avyaktam ( = s'dnta! 
dtmd), by which means the purusha is isolated from them 
all, and its deliverance is effected. We should thus obtain 
for the return into the first principle at death yoga and 
deep sleep respectively the following succession : * — 

At Death 
(Chand. 6. 8. 6). 

jxird devoid 

tejas (dpasy annam) 


vdc (etc.) 

In Yoga 
(Kath. 3. 10-13, 6. 7-11). 


avyaktam (s'dnta* dtman) 

( mahdn dtmd 
\ buddhi 


arthdh and indriydni 

In Deep Sleep 
(Pr&s-na 4. 7). 

\ ahankdra 


tanmdtra, bhiUc^, indriya 

With these steps of the involution into the primeval 
essence (that are found at death, in deep sleep, and in 
yoga) should be compared the steps of the evolution of 
things from the primeval essence, as they appear first in 
Aiund. 1. 1. 8-9, 2. 1. 2-3 (not yet perfectly distinct, a 

1 cp. 6. 16. 2. 

' Kath. 6. 7-11 is in essential agreement 

• The order in Pras'na 4 is doubtful. 


few points remaining doubtful) and in a more intelligible 
form in the later Sankhya : ^ — 

Miuid. 1. 1. 8-9. Miuid. 2. ]. 2-3. The Later S&nkhya. 

yah sarvajHah, narvavid purwha \ j. . „ 

anncm (=avydkr%tam, aksharam , ^ prakntt \\ purusha 


prdmi (=H%ranyagarbha, prd^ f ''"'^^ 

S'ank.) XahaiMra 

mancts manas^ and tanmdtra memos and indrijfos 

organs of sense 
satyarrif lokdf^f karmdni the elements hh^tcu 

A comparison of these tables renders it very probable 
that the true motive for the order of evolution in the 
S&nkhya. doctrine is, together with the triad of first 
principles adopted from the Rigveda (primal being, 
primitive matter, Hiranyagarbha, which become purusha, 
prakriti and mah&n), the succession of entrance into 
Brahman in deep sleep, death and yoga, which is taught 
in the Upanishads. And thus it becomes intelligible that 
when the later followers of the S&iikhya endeavour to 
justify their order by the psychological process in learning, 
they can do it only in an artificial way that from a 
philosophical point of view is unsatisfactory. 

4. Origin of the Doctrine of the Gunas 

The most characteristic feature of the S&nkhya system 
is the doctrine of the three gunaSy which depends upon 
the thought that the three forces that are active in the 
psychical organism, viz. — sattvam, rajas and tamas (which 
approaches the modern distinction of sensibility, irrit- 
ability and reproduction) are also present in prakriti, and 
constitute its entire substance.* Novel as this doctrine 

1 First perhaps in Maitr. 6. 10. 

' The prakriti is in essence nothing but potentiality (therefore avyakta(m\ 
%,€, the aggregate of the three factors (guna, formed after dviguna^ trigunOf etc., 


appears on its first introduction in the SVet&s'vatara 
Upanishad/ it yet depends upon older premisses. We 
begin accordingly with the verse S'vet. 4. 5 : * — 

The one she-goat, red and white and blackish, 
Casts many young, which are fashioned like to her; 
The one ram leaps on her in the ardour of love, 
The other ram abandons her, his companion. 

That this verse expresses the fundamental thought of 
the S&nkhya doctrine is not open to question. The 
manifold relations of the many purushas to the one 
prakriti cannot be more effectively illustrated than by the 
manifold relations of the many rams to the one she-goat. 
Under these circumstances the reference of the description 
of the she-goat as " red, white and black " {lohita-sukla- 
krishna, according to the reading of S'ankara) to the 
three gunas of which prakriti consists is inevitable. At 
the same time however these three expressions, both by 
the names themselves and by their order, which according 
to the SAnkhya doctrine ought to be different, point back 
to Chand. 6. 4, where everything in the universe is shown 
to consist of the three elements (which have proceeded 
from the one existing being), heat, water and food. There 
is present in all things (fire, sun, moon and lightning are 
given as examples) the red (lohita) heat, the white (sukla) 
water, and the black (krishria) food. The recurrence of 
these expressions in the same order in S'vet. 4. 5 proves 
that they are beyond question correctly referred by 
Badar&yana and S'ahkara* to Ch&nd. 6. 4. We must 

cp. gunayatij to multiply), which are involved in all existing things ; and 
all psychical organisms (linga) together with material nature {hhilta\ which 
is merely their foil, are derived from the various combinations of these 
(anyonya-iibhibfuiva-dsraya-jaiiana-mithuna). Everything that is is therefore 
a product of mttvam (joy, <f>ikia\ rajas (pain, vclKor), and tamat (indifference, 

1 i. 3, 4. 6, 6. 7, 6. 3-4, 6. 11, 6. 16. 

» =Mahanar. 10. 6. • Siltra 1. 4. 8-10. 


nevertheless agree with the opponent whom Sankara 
introduces in referring the verse with the following words 
to the Sankhya doctrine : — " In this verse by the words 
* red and white and black ' are to be understood rajas, 
sattvam and tamas. The red is rajas (emotion), because 
it naturally makes red (puts into agitation, ranjayati) ; 
the white is sattvam (essentiality, good), because it 
naturally makes bright; the black is tamas (darkness), 
because it naturally darkens. It is the equilibrium of 
these gunas, which is described here according to the 
quality of the parts of which it consists as 'red and 
white and black.' And because this is primitive it is 
called ajd (the she-goat, and also 'the unborn'), while 
the followers of the Sankhya say of it, — ' primeval nature 
creates, but is not created.'^ . . . That primitive substance 
therefore brings forth many young endowed with the 
three gunas ; and of it is it said that the one unborn (or 
ram, ajd), i.e. the one purusha, 'cherishes' (leaps upon) 
' her in the ardour of love,' in inclination, attachment ; 
while he in consequence of ignorance regards her as his 
own self, and accordingly from inability to distinguish 
looks upon himself as the vehicle of lust, indifference and 
blindness (which compose the essence of sattvam, raja^ 
and tamas), and therefore remains ensnared in the 
migration of souls ; while on the contrary another 
'unborn,' i.e. a purusha, who has gained the knowledge 
of difference and is no longer attached to it ('it,' that is 
to say, the primeval substance), 'abandons' her, 'the 
companion,' whose enjoyment has come to an end ; he 
therefore abandons her, that is to say, he is delivered from 

In this controversy both sides are right. The 
Vedantist, inasmuch as the verse unquestionably refers 
l)ack to Chand. 6. 4 ; and the S&nkhyist, inasmuch as the 

1 S&nkhya-karikd 3. 


three constituent elements, which according to Ch&nd. 6. 
2 proceed from the *one without a second/ and of a 
mixture of which everything in the universe consists, 
have been psychologically transformed into the three 
gunas. These three likewise are the primal elements, 
only that each of these primal elements has become the 
vehicle and expression of one of the three fundamental 
psychical forces which rule in our inner being. Since the 
word guTia (factor) would apply equally well to the primal 
elements and the primal forces (there is implied in it 
nothing more than that everything which originates 
from the primeval substance is " threefold," triguriam) ; 
and since in all the passages of the SVet. Up., in which it 
occurs for the first time,^ it may very well be understood 
still as fundamental element in the sense of Ch&nd. 6. 2, 
and the related verse S'vet. 4. 5, nothing prevents us 
from assuming that that transformation of the three 
primal elements into three primal forces, — or rather, the 
conception of each of the three primal elements as vehicle 
of a definite primal force, — has been first developed later 
on in direct connection with the above verse.* The 
process was completed with and by the introduction of 
the names sattvam, rajas and tamos, which in the sense 
here in question are not authenticated earlier than Maitr. 
3. 5, 5. 2, etc.* 

5. Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation 

Both Vedanta and Sankhya proclaim as their funda- 
mental view the proposition : — Deliverance is gained by 
knowledge. This proposition is in harmony throughout 
with the assumptions of the Vedanta teaching, but not 
with those of the Sruikhya. 

According to the doctrine of the Upanishads, the iitman 

> 1. 3, 4. 5, 5. 7, 6. 3-4, 6. 11, 6. 16. 2 SVet. 4. 6. 

• On Atharvav. X. 8. 43, cp. Allgemeine EinUitujiy^ p. 324. 


alone is real. The manifold universe is an illusion. This 
illusion is penetrated by the awakening of knowledge, 
and it is in this that deliverance consists. Here all is 
perfectly consistent. 

It is otherwise in the Sankhya. Here matter is as 
truly real as the soul, and therefore cannot be recognised 
by the latter as an illusion, as in the Ved&nta. The 
illusion, which has to be penetrated, is concerned in this 
case solely with the union between prakriti and purusha. 
This thought however cannot be sustained from a philo- 
sophical point of view. For a union either really subsists, 
or it does not. If it is real no advance of knowledge can 
lead to a dissolution of the union, but at the most to a 
clear consciousness of it, whereby however it is still 
far from being dissolved. The keen sword of knowledge 
can cleave the mist of an illusion, but cannot sever an 
actually existing union. If, on the other hand, the union 
between the two realities purusha and prakriti is not real, 
it has no existence at all. It is then not true that purusha 
" enlightens " prakriti, not true that prakriti " is reflected " 
in purusha; and this illumination or reflection may not 
be employed to explain the phenomenon of suffering, for 
it does not itself exist. 

The pessimism also by which the Sankhya system is 
dominated testifies to the derivative character of its theory 
of emancipation. Even the ancient Upanishads occasion- 
ally refer to the painful nature of existence,^ and according 
to them too with the illusion of empirical existence the 
possibility of the suffering involved in it disappears.* 
This however is still only an indirect result, and the chief 
stress is laid on the deliverance from natural avidyd by 
the knowledge of the &tman. It is otherwise in the 
further course of development. The pessimistic view 

1 ato 'nyad drtam, Brih. 3. 4. 2, 3. 5. 1, 3. 7. 23. 
* tarati rokam dimamd, Ch&nd. 7. 1. 3. 


comes increasingly to the front. It occupies a greater 
space already in Kath. 1, a still greater in the speech of 
Brihadratha in Maitr. 1. The climax of this pessimistic 
movement is reached in the S&nkhya system, which 
regards philosophy as a whole as no more than a search 
for means to avert the threefold suffering.^ Such a stand- 
point, where it makes its appearance in philosophy, is 
everywhere a symptom of exhaustion. Philosophy is 
originally based on a pure desire for knowledge, and 
knows no other aim than the search for truth. Only 
when this desire is weakened does philosophy become a 
mere means to an end, a remedium for the suffering of 
existence. This was the case in Greece in the schools 
that succeeded Aristotle ; it was so also in India in the 
Sankhya system and in Buddhism. 

1 SftAkhya-kfinldl 1. 



XL The Supreme and the Individual Souls 

1. The Theory of the later Veddnta 

The Vedanta of S'ankara and his school makes a 
distinction between the supreme soul (paramatman) and 
a multitude of individual souls (jtva dtman, s'drtra 
dtman). The former is omniscient, omnipotent, omni- 
present ; the latter are limited in wisdom, power 
and capacity of movement. The former is neither 
active nor passive, and is therefore free from the 
very beginning; the latter are active and receptive, 
and are therefore entangled in the eternal round of 
sariisfira, and stand in need of deliverance. Yet the 
individual fitmans are not properly distinct from the 
supreme &tman. Each of them is in full and complete 
measure the supreme &tman himself, as he manifests 
himself, though his real nature is concealed by the 
upddhis {mancLSy indriyas^ etc.). These upddhis are 
unable to change his real nature, as little as 
the purity of the rock crystal is destroyed by the 
red colour with which it is externally smeared. 
Rather is it solely avidyd, ignorance, which imposes 
the upfi.dhis on the supreme S^tman, and thus comes to 
regard him as an individual atman. Accordingly the 


entire individual soul as such has no reality, and yet 
the system cannot avoid treating it as a reality, and 
discussing in detail its organs and attributes, it« wander- 
ing and final deliverance. This internal contradiction 
inherent in the system, as well as the designation of two 
different and yet not different entities by the one word 
&tman, points to the conclusion that the whole theory of 
a twofold soul, supreme and individual, is of secondary 
origin. We have now to trace its rise in the Upanishads. 

2. Originally only one Sovl 

The texts of the oldest Upanishads do not recognise 
two souls, but only one. " It is thy soul, which is within 
all." ^ He who while dwelling in the earth, the water, the 
fire, in space, wind, heaven, sun, etc., is distinct from them, 
whose body they are, who rules them all from within, " he 
is thy soul, the inner guide, the immortal. He sees but 
is not seen, hears but is not heard, comprehends but is 
not comprehended, knows but is not known ; there is 
none beside him that sees or hears or comprehends or 
knows."* This &tman who alone exists is the knowing 
subject in us, and as such sustains the whole universe 
of conceptions, in which is everything and beyond which 
nothing, and with the knowledge of the fitman therefore all 
is known.' This is the point of view of pure idealism, 
which denies the existence of a manifold universe, and 
of everything outside the knowing subject. It becomes 
pantheism, when it concedes a relative existence to 
the universe, but identifies this entire universe with 
the atman, the knowing subject Such an identi- 
fication however, often as it is repeated, is always 
very obscure, and in order to bring it within the range of 
empirical comprehension a return is effected to the old 
cosmogony, and it is taught that the &tman created 

1 Brih. 3. 4. 1, 3. 6. 1. « Brih. 3. 7. 3-23. » Bpih. 2 4. 6. 



the universe and then entered into it as soul:— anena 
jivena dtmand anupravisya} Here for the first time we 
meet with the word jiva dtman, which later denotes " the 
individual soul" as contrasted with the supreme. But 
no such contrast yet exists here. It is the S.tman himself 
who alone exists and creates the universe, who as jiva 
dtman enters into the universe that he has created. 
Neither from the point of view of pure idealism, nor in its 
empirical varieties of pantheism and cosmogonism, does 
any opposition exist between the supreme and individual 
souls. The contrast between them is first seen at the 
moment in which the fitman who creates the universe and 
then enters into his creation becomes a duality, the parts 
of which are set over-against one another. We have 
described this further accommodation to the empirical 
consciousness as theism, since here the original unity of 
the S.tman is divided into God and the soul. 

3. The Individual Souls hy the side of the Supreme 

All the Upanishads, even the oldest, when they discuss 
the conditions of bondage in the MMMcirei and of delivaiy 
anoe therefrom, distmguiflh between the imprisoned 8onl and 
tiiAt which has been delivered, between the soul entering 
on deliveranoe and that to which it enters in ; and thus 
often enough a poetical personificaticm of the two condir 
tionaia arrived at^ as of the souls imprisoned in sadis4ra, 
and of the divine emancipated souls. An example is 
furnished by Ch&nd. 3. 14. 4 : — *' To him shall I departing 
hence enter in"; or Kaush. 1, where a description is 
given how the souls that reach the other world appear 
before the throne of Brahm&n (masc), and are questioned 
by him with regard to their knowledge. The answer 
however that is rendered : * — " The self of every being art 
thou, and what thou art, that am I," proves that these 

1 CMnd. 6. 3. 2. * Kaush. 1. 6. 


poetical contrasts remain throughout dominated by the 
consciousness of the unity of the &tman. A real dis- 
tinction between the individual and the supreme soul is 
first found in those texts in which the latter becomes 
concrete in the idea of a personal god over-against the 
souls, whose " grace " then is the condition of deliverance. 
This first occurs, as we saw before, in the K&thaka 
Upanishad, and in harmony with this we meet the first 
real distinction of supreme and individual souls in 
Kath. 3. 1 :— 

Two, quaffers of the recompense for their deeds, 

Yonder in the other world, entered into the pit; 

Light and shadow are they caUed by him who knows Brahman. 

The unity of the two souls here distinguished is ex- 
pressed in the fact that the " quaffing of the recompense " 
which is true only of the individual souls is ascribed to 
both, and also that the supreme soul is designated as the 
light, to which the individual soul clings as mere unsub- 
stantial shadow.^ On this passage Pras'na 3. 3 probably 
depends : — '' From tihe Itmui tlbJs piiQa grigiimteii ; as 
the shadow on a many so it projects itself on the other." 
In the words that immediately follow * we meet also for 
the first time with the description of the individual soul as 
the hhoktar, the " enjoyer," that through the whole course 
of life has to enjoy, i.e. to expiate the fruit of the works 
of the preceding life. This enjoyer, the individual soul, 
results from the union of the fitman (the supreme soul) 
with the organs, manas and the indriyas.' The description 
of the individual soul as bhoktar recurs in S'vet. 1. 8, 9, 12 ; 
5. 7. The borrowing from K&th. 3. 4 is, to judge from the 
entire relation of the two works, quite beyond doubt. 
Precisely the same contrast between individual and 
supreme souls is stated with remarkable heightening of the 

1 cp. Kft^h. 6. 6. > K&(h. 3. 4. « K&^ 3. 4. 


effect in S'vet. 4. 6-7,^ adapting the verse ^igv. I. 
164. 20:«— 

Two fair-plumaged close friends 

Surround one and the same tree ; 

One of them tastes the sweet berries, 

The other, without eating, only gazes downwards.' 

To such a tree the spirit sunk down 
In its impotence mourns, a prey to delusion. 
Yet when it worships and beholds of the other 
The omnipotence and majesty, then its grief departs. 

The entire adhy&ya, S'vet. 5, serves as a further exposi- 
tion of this contrast. Here, to begin with, vv. 2-6 depict 
the supreme soul, how at the beginning it gave birth to 
Hiranyagarbha {kapila rishi) as first-born, how it ever 
expands and contracts the web of the broad universe, how 
as Is'vara exacting recompense it makes to grow and 
brings to maturity the fruit of all works. Then follows 
in vv. 7-12 the description of the " other " (the expression 
links itself with the verses 4, 7 already quoted), i.e. the 
individual soul : — 

7. The doer of works of inevitable result, abundant in fruit, 
Yea and the enjoyer of that which he does, 

He wanders as lord of life, in every form, 

Wrought of the three gu^ias, on triple path, even according to his work. 

8. An inch in height, shining like the sun. 
Endowed with thought and self-consciousness, 
By virtue of his buddhi, his fttman, 

Tlie other appears, small as a needle's point. 

9. Split a hundred times the tip of a hair, 
And take therefrom a hundredth part, 
That deem I the size of the soul. 
And yet it wins immortality. 

1 Mu9d. 3. 1. 1-2 also is pi-obably dependent on it 

' On the original meaning, cp. AUgemeine Einleitung^ pp. 112, 113. 

« Rigv. 1. 164. 20. 


10. He is neither male nor female, 
And yet is he not neuter ; 
Even according to the body which he chooses, 
He resides in this or in that 

11. Through the delusion of thought, touch, sight, 
He moves as soul, in harmony with his work, 

By the eating, drinking, begetting, which be himself effects, 
Changing here and there into various forms. 

12. As soul he selects many gross forms, 

Many subtle also, corresponding to his virtue; 

And that which fetters him by force of his deeds and self 

To these, fetters him also to others. 

The individual soul is here contrasted with the supreme 
soul i\s being endowed with sankalpa (the activity of the 
ma7ias\ ahankdra and hvddhi, enjoying the fruit of its 
action; and is described in a descending scale as "an 
inch in height," " small as a needle's point/' small as the 
ten-thousandth part of the tip of a hair, — " and it," so it is 
further said, "wins immortality"; i.e. after getting rid of 
the delusion of empirical reality, we recognise this infinitely 
small individual soul as identical with the infinitely 
great supreme soul. The clear distinction and yet repeat- 
edly asserted identity of the two is already the stand- 
point of the later Ved&nta, as it has been characterised above 
at the beginning of this Chapter. 

4. Reason for the Assumption of Bodily Form 

If however the individual soul is a mere apparition as 
compared with the supreme soul, how comes the eternally 
free and blessed supreme soul to assume this apparitional 
form, and as individual soul, having strayed from its true 
being to become fettered, to wander and to suffer ? This 
question first arises in the latest Upanishads, and the 
answers to it are very indefinite and unsatisfactory. 

In Prasna 3. 1 the question is proposed : — " Whence 


does this prana (the individual soul) originate, and how 
does it enter into this body ? and the answer runs : — From 
the atman (the supreme soul) this prfina originates ; as the 
shadow on a man, so he projects himself on it ; and he 
enters into this body manokritena.'' This term Sankara 
explains as manah'Sankalpa'ic'c'hd'ddi nishpanna-kar- 
manimittena^ " because of his works which have origin- 
ated from the will, desire, etc. of the manas " ; thus 
actions and imprisonment in the samsftra as their 
inevitable consequence would be the result of the free will 
of the soul. It must be admitted that this explanation 
is disputable on grammatical grounds, since manokritena 
can only be resolved as manO'{a)kritenat and would 
mean, — Without assent of its will, contrary to its will 
the soul is involved in the saiiis&ra. 

The answer which is given to the same question in 
Maitr. 3. 2, falling back upon the terminology current 
later in the Sankhya, shows a deeper insight. After 
establishing the distinction between the immortal (supreme) 
fitman and the natural (individual), it goes on to say 
here : — " Assuredly his immortal 3,tman continues to 
exist (uncoAtaminated) like the drops of water on the 
lotus flower (which only apparently assume its colouring) ; 
but yet this S,tman is overcome by the gunas of prakriti. 
Being thus overcome then it falls into an illusion, and 
because of this illusion it fails to recognise the august and 
holy creator subsisting in itself; but torn asunder and 
defiled by the stream of gunas it becomes without 
support, weak, broken down, sensual, disordered, and 
a prey to delusion fancies *This is I,' 'This is mine,' 
and fetters itself by its own action, as a bird by its nest." 

Finally the verse may be quoted which forms the con- 
clusion of the Maitr. Up. 7. 11 : — 

To taste of reality and illusion 
The great Self becomes twofold. 


AccordiDg to this the individual soul would be dependent 
on the desire of the supreme soul to experience the illusion 
of a life in the world as well as eternal reality. 

In ancient times therefore the same difficulties were 
encountered which meet us when we search for causal 
relations in a sphere which by its very nature is beyond 
the reach of the entire rule of causality. 

XII. The Organs op the Soul 

1. Later View 

Here also it is worth while to begin with the teaching 
of the later Ved3.nta in order then to trace in the sphere 
of the Upanishads the development which led up to it. 

In agreement with the views of modern physiology, 
Sankara distinguishes (1) manas and indriyas (the 
organs of relation), and (2) the five prdnas (the organs 
of nutrition), with which are associated as accompanying 
upddhis of the soul (3) sUkshmam s'miramy the subtle 
body, and (4) a factor that changes from one birth to 
another, karma, the actions of each several existence. 

(1) To the brain as the central organ, and its two 
dependents the sensible and the motor nerves, corresponds 
the relation of manas (mind and conscious will) to the 
^wQJndna — indriyas^ or organs of knowledge (these are, 
following the order of the five elements to which they 
correspond, — hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell), and 
the five karma-indriyas, or organs of action (speech, 
hands, feet, and the organs of generation and secretion). 
The jnana-indriyas convey the impressions of the senses 
to the manas, which manufactures them into ideas 
(sankalpa). On this side therefore it corresponds to our 
mind. These ideas are then formed into resolves 
(sankalpa) by the manas in its function as " conscious 


will," and are carried into execution by the five karma- 
indriyas. The assigning a common organ {manas) for 
mind and conscious will, and a common function 
(sankalpa) for ideas and resolves corresponds to the 
physiological fact, according to which the brain both 
shapes the impressions of the sensible nerves into ideas, 
and also carries into execution these ideas, so far as they 
become resolves of the will, by means of the motor nerves. 
Manas in S'ankara's view is the sole internal organ. 
Buddhi, ahankara and cittam, which are treated as separate 
organs by the S&nkhya and Yoga, are with him merely 
functions of manas.^ 

(2) Breathing, circulation of the blood, and nourish- 
ment equally with the quickening of the body are the 
functions of the pr&na, which penetrates the whole body 
in its varieties as prdna, apdna, vydna, uddna and 
samdna. According to S'ankara, the prdna causes 
exspiration {uc'c'hvdsa), the apdna inspiration (nisvdsa)* 
The vydna sustains life when the breath is arrested. 
The samdna is concerned with digestion. The uddna 
effects the departure of the soul from the body at death. 
According to other teachers,^ the prdria serves for breath- 
ing, the apdna for evacuation, the vydna for quickening, 
the uddna for the departure of the soul, the samdna for 
the assimilation of food. 

(3) A third companion of the soul in its wanderings is 
the " subtle body " {s4kshm,am sariram), i.e. " the subtle 
parts of the elements which form the seed of the body " 
{deha'Vtjdni'bMta-silkshm4ni). While the gross body is 
dissolved at death, the subtle body departs with the 

1 SAtram 2. 4. 6, 2. 3. 22. 

* cp. S'ankara on Ch&nd. 1. 3. 3 : — yad vaipurushaJ^ prdnitiy myJcha-ndsi- 
kdhhydm vdyvm vahir nihsdrayatiy sa prdna-dkhyo vdyor vriUi'Vis'esho ; yad 
apdnitiy apas'vcuiti^ tdbhydm eva antar dkarshati vdyumy so ^pdno, ^pdna-dkhyd 
vrittih (otherwise on Ch&nd. 3. 13. 3, Prasoia 3. 5). 

» e.g, Ved&ntap&ra 94-98. 

THE ATMAN and the ORGANS 265 

organs. It is related to the gross body as the seed to 
the plant, or as the functions of seeing, hearing, etc., which 
depart with the soul, to the physical eye and ear. 

(4) Besides this substratum of the elements (hhHta- 
ds'raya), out of which the body is built up in the follow- 
ing birth, the soul lastly is further attended by the 
ethical substratum {kaTma-ds'raya)^ which determines 
the character of the new body and life. This ethical 
substratum is formed by the actions committed in the 
course of each several life, and is therefore different for 
each soul and for each life course. Without these factors 
the souls with their organs would be indistinguishable 
from one another. 

2. The Atman and the Organs 

" In the beginning the &tman alone in the form of a 
man was this universe. He gazed around ; he saw nothing 
there but himselfi Thereupon he cried out at the 
beginning : — ' It is I.' Thence originated the name I. 
Therefore to-day, when anyone is summoned, he answers 
first * It is I ' ; and then only he names the other name 
which he bears." ^ According to this passage, the first 
consciousness, and therefore the starting-point and 
vehicle of all certainty is self-consciousness,* and that for 
the supreme as well as for the individual soul, for the two 
are one. Only later, when this original idealism had been 
obscured by the advancing realism, and a distinction had 
been set up between supreme and individual soul, does 
ahahkdra appear among the functions or organs of the 
latter,^ as though the &tman the creator of the universe 
were something other than the self in me ; a proposition 
which to the Indians as well as to Descartes serves already 

* Brih. 1. 4. 1. * In Ch&nd. 7. 25. 1 termed aharikdra. 

* For the first time in S'vet. 6. 8 and Pras^a 4. 8 ; bo later on in Maitr. 
2. 6, 3. 2, 6. 6, Pr&^lignihotra 4, Maha 1, and in the S&nkhya. 


as the alpha and omega of all knowledge of the truth. 
" The self is the basis (dsraya) for the validity of proof, 
and therefore is constituted also before the validity of 
proof. And because it is thus formed it is impossible to 
call it in question. For we may call a thing in question 
which comes up (dgantuka) to us (from without), but not 
our own essential being. For if a man calls it in question, 
yet is it his own essential being." ^ This thought is found 
expressed in the Upanishads, besides the passage above 
quoted from Bpih. 1. 4. 1, in SVet. 1. 2 also, in so far as 
it is there said : — 

There are time, nature, necessity, chance, 

Primitive matter, spirit, — is the union of these 

As primal basis conceiyable? Not so. For it is one Self. 

All the first principles proposed by other schools, time, 
nature, necessity, etc., are to be abandoned, dtmabhdvdt, 
because the self, the &tman, is to be assumed as the first 
principle of things, since it is the necessary presupposition 
of them all. 

This &tman which in each one of us, as before the be- 
ginning of things is conceived as the I, as the passage from 
the Brih. sets forth further from the empirical standpoint, 
created the universe of names and forms, and then as soul 
entered into it : — " right to the tips of the fingers " he fiills 
the body, and is hidden in it like the knife in the sheath 
or the fire in the fuel. " Therefore he is not seen, for he 
is divided ; as breathing he is called breath, as speaking 
speech, as seeing eye, as hearing ear, as understanding 
mind ; all these are only names for his effects."* As eye 
he is the centre (ekdyanam) of all forms, as ear the centre 
of all sounds, etc.^ " When the eye directs itself into 
space, it is the spirit in the eye, the eye (itself) serves 
(only) for seeing ; and if a man desires to smell, that is the 

^ S'ankara on Brahmasdtra 2. 3. 7. 

« Brih. 1. 4. 7. » Brih. 2. 4. 11. 

THE ATMAN and the ORGANS 267 

dtman, the nose serves only for odours," ^ etc. The eye is 
nothing but eye, the ear nothing but ear, of that he who 
knows Brahman is aware,* and abandons the hearing of 
hearing, the thought of thinking, the speaking of speech, 
etc., in order to grasp that by which speech, breath, eye, 
ear and manas are harnessed and dismissed to their 
occupations.' This essential identity of the organs with 
the &tman, when regarded empirically, appears as a 
creation of them from it : — " from it originates breath, the 
mind, and all the senses."* According to Ch&nd. 6. 5, 
manas, prtoa and speech are the most subtle product of 
the elements, food, water and heat, created by the &tman. 
To the organs of the individual &tman there correspond in 
the universe the forces of nature (nature gods) as organs 
of the cosmical &tman. Following up the ideas, which we 
learnt to know from the hymn of the purusha,* Ait. 1. 1--2 
represents the gods Agni, V&yu, Aditya, Dis', etc. as 
originating from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears, etc. of the 
primeval man, and these then enter into the individual 
man as speech, smell, sight, hearing. According to the 
Brih. Up., on the contrary, which in general prefers to 
start from the individual,' the individual organs, speech, 
smell, eye, ear, manas, which are boirn at first as children 
of Praj^pati, are filled with evil by the demons, and then 
by the pr&na are led beyond the reach of evil and death, 
to enjoy a continued existence as fire, wind, sun, the 
heavenly regions and the moon.'^ The later theory ® of the 
protectorate which the nature gods exercise over the 
psychical organs depends upon conceptions of this kind. 
It makes its appearance first in Byih. 4. 4. 1, where a 

1 Chand. 8. 12. 4. « Bpih. 4. 4. 18. 

^ Kena 1-2 ; cp. the paraphrase of this passage in Maitr. 6. 31. 
< Mu^Ld. 2. 1. 3. 

* Rigv. X. 90. 13-14 ; cp. Allgemeine Einleiiung^ p. 167. 

• cp. eapecially Bpih. 1. 4. 6 ad fin. 

' Brih. 1. 3. 11-16 ; cp. Chdnd. 1. 2. » e.g. Pras'na 3. a 


description is given how at death the material eye is set 
free,^ and the spirit that dwells in the eye returns out- 
wards to the sun,* while the psychical organ of the faculty 
of sight gathers with the rest of the organs in the heart 
around the soul, in order to journey forth in its company. 
The names and number of the organs are still uncertain 
in the older texts. In Chltnd. 3. 1. 3 and Brih. 6. 4. 5f. 
the word indriyam has still the meaning of " force " ; it 
is first employed by Kaush. 2. 15, K&th. 3. 4 as a name 
for the organs, as the physical forces in man. In the 
older texts the organs collectively are called the prdnaSy 
the " vital breaths," by virtue of a denominatio a potiori, 
from the organ of breathing (prdria), as being the most 
important and that upon which the life is dependent. 
" Therefore they are not called voices, eyes, ears, minds, 
but vital breaths (prdndh), for the breath (prdna) is all 
of them." * As regards the number also of the organs, no 
agreement exists. It is frequently mentioned that man, 
like Prajapati in his character as the moon,* consists of 
sixteen parts. This is the case in the narrative of Chand. 
6. 7.^ How little what was intended by the sixteen parts 
was understood is shown by Satap. Br. X. 4. 1. 17, where 
the sixteen syllables of the words loman, tvac\ asrij, medas, 
Tndmsam^ sndvan, asthiy majjd (hair, skin, blood, sap, flesh, 
sinew, bones, marrow) do duty as such. In Prasna 6 the 
sixteen parts are enumerated as (1) prdna, (2) sraddhd, 
faith, (3-7) the five elements, (8) indriyam^ the organs of 
sense considered as one, (9) manas, (10) annam, food, 
(11) viryam, strength, (12) tapas, (13) mantrdh, (14) 
karman, (15) lokdh, (16) ndman. The same are to be 
understood in S Vet. 5. 14, according to the commentary. 
It is perhaps on this sixteenfold enumeration of the parts 

1 Brih. 4. 3. 36. • cp. the amplificationfl in Bj-ih. 3. 2. 13. 

« Ch&nd. 5. 1. 15. * Bpih. 1. 6. 14. 

* cp. MiMi4- 3. 2. 7, Pras'na 6. 

THE ATMAN and the ORGANS 269 

of a man that the later summary of the organs as the ten 
indriyas with manas and the five pr&nas depends. By the 
"seven pranas" of Mund. 2. 18 should be understood, 
as in Satap. Br. VI. 4. 2. 5 and elsewhere, the seven 
openings in the head ; these with the two lower are 
described in SVet. 3. 18 and later ^ as the nine gates of 
the city of the body. Adding the navel and Brahma- 
randhram * the number becomes eleven.* An older verse * 
describes the head as a drinking bowl with the opening at 
the side, on whose edges (the seven openings in the head) 
seven rishis (the seven organs of sense) dwell, who are 
identical with the seven guardians of the universe. A 
modification of this verse * names speech as the eighth, and 
therefore by the seventh rishi (after ears, eyes, nostrils) 
vdc* must again be understood as the organ of taste, and 
to this the explanation that follows • refers. 

The seven so-called openings of the head have un- 
doubtedly been the starting-point for the original enumera- 
tion of the organs of sense, as is clear from the fact that 
in the texts of the older Upanishads only speech, breath 
(smell), eye, ear and manas as a fifth are usually named as 
organs of sense {prdTmsy Where the number is fewer, 
special reasons are generally present, as in Brih. 3. 1. 3-6, 
where the number four is found, or Ch&nd. 3. 13. 5, 5. 23. 
2, where the surprising omissions are perhaps to be ex- 
plained by the fact that smell was supposed to be already 
included in the five pranas.® Where more than five 
organs are named the additions are usually appended to, 
or even made to precede the original speech, breath, eye, 
ear, manas. Thus in Brih. 2. 5. 1-7 {s'artram, retas), 3. 2. 

1 e.g. Yogas'ikh^ 4, Yogatattvam 13, Bhag. G. 6. 13. 
« Ait. 1. 3. 12. « Kath. 5. 1. * Atharvav. X. 8. 9. 

» Brih. 2. 2. 3. « Briii. 2. 2. 4. 

' This is the case in Brih. 1. 3. 2-6, 1. 4. 7, 2. 2. 3, Chand. 1. 2. 2-6, 2. 7. 
1, 2. 11. 1, 3. 18. 1-6, 8. 12. 4-5, Kena 1. 4-8. 
» cp. Taitt. 1. 7. 


13, 3. 7. 16-23 {tvac', vijndnam, retas), 4. 1. 2-7 
{hridayam)} Brih. 3. 2. 2-9 is peculiar, where eight 
organs of sense are enumerated as the eight grahas or 
seizers (organ of smell, speech, tongue, eye, ear, manas, 
hands, skin), to which their objects correspond as 
atigruhas or over-seizers (smell, name, taste, form, sound, 
desire, action, touch). The assigning here of the names 
prdna and apdna severally to the organ of smell and to 
smell itself will be discussed later on. The name graha 
(seizer) for the organs of sense, according to S'ankara* 
would signify that by them the soul is fettered to objects 
{badhyate kshetrajno 'nena graha-safljnakena bandha- 
nena iti). In this may be found a conjfirmation of our 
conjecture * that the later conception of the " bands of the 
heart " * is derived from this passage or the view contained 
in it, that graha and atigraha tie the knots, which are un- 
loosed on deliverance. The name indriyas for the organs 
of sense first meets us in the Upanishads in the rite of 
Kaush. 2. 15. The later enumeration of ten together with 
manas is followed with one exception. In the summary at 
the close they are again described by the old name ofprdnas. 
The oldest passage which cites the ten later indriyas 
complete, with the addition of manas and hridayam, is 
Brih. 2. 4. 11.* With manas but without hridayam in 
the later total of eleven they appear first in Prasna 4. 2, 
in evident contrast with the five pr&nas; while in the 
continuation of the passage • there are enumerated the five 
elements, five tanmlttras, ten indriyas with their objects, 
together with manas, buddhi, ahank&ra, c'ittam, tejas and 
pr&na. This passage is at one and the same time the pre- 

' cp. Ait. 1. 1. 4, Kaush. 3. 5. 
« On Brahmasiltra 2. 4. 6. 
^ See Deussen, Upan.j p. 430. 

« First in CMnd. 7. 26. 2, then Edth. 6. 15, Mupd. 2. 2. 8, 3. 2. 9, and as 
"bands of ignorance" in Mu^d. 2. 1. 10. 

»=4. 6. 12. « Prasna 4. 8. 


cursor of the Ved&nta's sixteenfold enumeration of the psy- 
chical organs, and of the Sankhya's twenty-five principles, 

3. Manas and the Ten Indriyas 

The earliest passage in which, as in the later Vedanta, 
the indriyas are specified as neither more nor less than 
ten, subordinated to the manas as the central organ, and 
with it placed in contrast with the five pr&nas as the 
forces of unconscious life that are active even in sleep, is 
Prasna 4. 2. As the rays of light are gathered into the 
sun at sunset " so also (on falling asleep) all this becomes 
one in the manas as supreme deity ; therefore it comes to 
pass that then nothing is heard by a man, nothing seen, 
nothing smelt, nothing tasted, and nothing felt, nothing 
spoken, nothing comprehended, nothing begotten, nothing 
evacuated, no motion hither and thither, but as it is said 
he is asleep. Then the fires of prana awaken (prana, 
apdna^ vydna, samdna, uddna^ which are then further 
explained) in this city (of the body)." This conception of 
manas as the central organ of the faculties of knowledge 
and action, of the powers of perception and conscious deter- 
mination, and therefore of that which we call "mind" 
and "conscious will," was at first gradually elaborated. 
Originally manas had a more general meaning, and in its 
indefinite character corresponded nearly to our " disposi- 
tion," " feeling," " heart," " spirit." As such manas repre- 
sents not infrequently the spiritual principle in general, 
and becomes sometimes a name for the first principle of 
things. Brahman or the &tman.^ Even in the Upanishads, 
epithets of Brahman like mxxnomaya, " consisting of 
manas," are occasionally found,* and manas is one of the 

* cp. the tendency pointed out, Allgemeine Einleitung^ pp. 206, 206, to 
conceive Praj&pati as manas, and especially the beautiful hymn Vdj. Sanih. 
34. 1-6 (translated 16., p. 335), which as S'ivcuankalpa was included by 
the Onpnck'liat even in the Upanishads. 

« Chand. 3. 14. 2, Bfih. 5. 6. 1, Taitt. 1. 6. 1, Mu^id. 2. 2. 7. 


symbols under which Brahman is worshipped.^ In Ait. 
3. 2 also manas appears still among the functions or 
modifications of Brahman described as "consciousness" 
(prajndnam) : — " what this heart and manas is, reflection, 
imagination, meditation, invention, mind, insight, resolve, 
purpose, desire, emotion, recollection, conception, force, 
life, love, will, — all these are names of consciousness." 
Nay, even in the section Kaush. 3, where generally manas 
appears in its later signification as an organ side by side 
with speech, sight, hearing,* and as such is subordinated to 
" consciousness " {prajnd ^prdna = brahman ; cp. 3. 8 : — 
" we should not seek for manas, but to know the thinker), 
even here in 3. 7, in contradiction to the ordinary usage, 
manas is again employed in the old way as a synonym for 
"consciousness": — "For speech bereft of prajM (con- 
sciousness) cannot bring any name whatever to conscious- 
ness, for it is said, 'My manas (mind) was elsewhere 
(anyatra me m^ano 'bhUt), therefore have I not become 
conscious of that name." Precisely the same is then 
further said of the remaining organs, breath, eye, ear, 
tongue, etc., until the series reaches manas, where the 
formula is dropped, in order to conceal the contradiction 
in the double use of the word. In its second narrower 
meaning as the psychical organ of conception and will 
manas stands originally on a line with the organs of sense, 
as is shown by the description of the organs of sense 
(prdrias) quoted above, and frequently repeated as speech, 
breath, eye, ear and manas. All five are subordinated to 
the &tman : — " As breathing he is called breath, as speaking 
speech, as seeing eye, as hearing ear, as understanding 
mind (manas) ; all these are only names for his effects." * 

* tup, p. lllf. 

' cp. 3. 3 : — " men live even without manas, for we see fools," and so in 
what follows. 
« Brih. 1. 4. 7. 


In Brih. 1. 3. 2-6 all five are filled with evil by the demons, 
and then by the vital breath in the mouth {dsanya prdna) 
are led beyond evil and death. But the true knowledge 
that every sensible perception is a work of the mind 
(manas), from which it follows that the rest of the organs 
of sense are subordinated to the manas, comes to the front 
in the Upanishads, appearing in the famous oft-quoted 
saying of Brih. 1. 5. 3.^ ** * I was elsewhere with my mind 
{mancbs), therefore I did not see ; I was elsewhere with 
my mind, therefore I did not hear,' so it is said ; for only 
with the mind do we see, and only with the mind do we 
hear. Desire, judgement, doubt, belief, unbelief, firmness, 
weakness, modesty, knowledge, fear, — all this is only 
manas. When then anyone is touched from behind, he 
knows it through the manas." This passage which is repro- 
duced in Maitr. 6. 3, and countless times subsequently, and 
which all future ages regarded as authoritative, asserts that 
the manas, although only the organ of the &tman, is yet 
the central organ of the entire conscious life ; which not only 
as " the primary root of the five faculties of knowledge " * 
shapes into ideas * the impressions of sight, hearing, taste, 
smell, touch, since we " see only with the mind, hear with 
the mind," but stamps these ideas further as resolves of the 
will (sahkalpa^ cp. Chand. 7. 4), so that in the latter sense 
the manas becomes the organ of the will and its expression 
by the five organs of action (speech, grasp, movement, 
evacuation, begetting). " For by the manas is a man im- 
pelled towards his wife, and begets with her a son, who 
is like him " ; * " And when a man directs his manas 
to the study of the sacred hymns and sayings, then he 

' Forming a counterpart to the verse of Epicharmus : — voik Spfj koI vws 
dicovci, T^iKka tcaxpa icai rvcpXd, 

* pan(ya-hud(lhi-dd%miUa7Hi S'vet. 1. 5. 

* sankalpa=*^ the definition of a presented object as black, white, etc.'' ; 
S'ankara on Bfih. 1. 5. 3. 

< Brih. 4. 1. 6. 


studies them ; or to the accomplishment of works, then he 
accomplishes them ; or to the desire for sons and cattle, 
then he desires them ; or to the desire for the present and 
the future world, then he desires them."^ Accordingly 
in Taitt. 2. 3 also, of the purusha consisting of manas 
(manomaya) " the Yajus is the head, the Ric is the right 
side, the S&man the left side," etc. ; because the sacrificial 
cult depends upon the Vedaa, and this is founded on the 
selfish desires of the gods for ofierings, and of men for the 
blessings of the gods. The superiority of manas to the 
indriyas is further expanded in K&th. 6. 7 : — " Manas stands 
higher than the senses " ; and in K&th. 3. 3, where the 
senses are represented as the horses yoked to the waggon 
of the body, but the manas as their bridle. This illustra- 
tion is changed in a sense still more favourable to the 
manas in Maitr. 2. 6, where the organs of knowledge 
(buddhi-indriydni) are the five reins, the organs of action 
{karma indriydni) are the horses, the manas is the driver, 
and the prakriti his whip. By means of this manas drives 
the organs of action (speech, grasp, movement, evacuation, 
begetting) to their work, and they are then guided and 
controlled by manas by means of the organs of knowledge 
(sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch). Later passages which 
exhibit manas side by side with the huddhtndriydni and 
karmendriydni are Garbha 4 and Pran&gnihotra 4. 
Mention is made in Mah& 1 of ten indriydni with manas 
as an eleventh. Their ten functions are already named 
in the passage quoted above from Prasna 4. 2. An 
enumeration of the ten corresponding organs is not found 
within our recollection earlier than Manu 2. 89 f. 

5. The Prdna and its Five Varieties 

Pr&na also, like manas, is a word of very varied mean- 
ing, which only gradually attained its later technical 

1 Ch&nd. 7. 3. 1. 


significance. Originally pr&na is the " breath " ; then the 
" life " as connected with the process of breathing. In 
this character the prana frequently becomes an empirical 
and consequently symbolical representation of the &tman. 
In the older period ^ all the vital powers (speech, breath, 
eye, ear, manas, etc.), like the life, were called the pr&nas. 
Only gradually manas and the indriyas as the forces of 
conscious life were separated from the pr&na, which with 
its five subdivisions is incessantly active in waking 
and in sleep, and is consequently the especial vehicle of 
life as such. In sleep manas enters into the prana,^ and 
causes the soul "to guard its lower nest by the pr^na."* 
It is from this perhaps that the later conception is derived 
that in sleep, while the organs of sense are absorbed into 
manas, the fires of pnina keep watch in the city of the 
body.* These fires of prfina, which are on the watch in 
sleep, are themselves five in number, viz. 'pr6ma^ apdna, 
vydna^ samdna, uddna^ and they are mentioned together 
both earlier and later numberless times, and employed 
in the most varied allegories, without its being possible 
to obtain a clear and consistent explanation of them. 
Sometimes only two (prdna and apdna) are named,^ or 
three • {prdna, apdna, vydna), or four'^ {prdna, apdna^ 
vydna, %iddna), usually however all five.® This number is 
exceeded, as far as we know, only in Sarvopanishats. 10, 
where fourteen pranas are mentioned.^ 

1 Occasionally also later, e,g, Prasoia 3. 4. 

« Chand. 6. 8. 2. « Brih. 4. 3. 12. * Pras'na 4. 3. 

» Taitt. At. 3. 14. 7 ; Atharvav. 11. 4. 13, Ait Ar. 2. 1 ; K&th. 6. 8 ; 
Mund. 2. 1. 7. 

« Brih. 3. 1. 10, 5. 14. 3, Ch&nd. 1. 3. 3, Taitt. 1. 6. 3, 2. 2. 

' Brih. 3. 4. 1. 

» Brih. 1. 5. 3, 3. 9. 26, Chftnd. 3. 13. 1-6, 6. 19-23, Taitt 1. 7, Prasiia 
3. 6, 4. 4, Maitr. 2. 6, 6. 4, 0. 9, 6. 33, 7. 1-5, Amritab. 34-36, Pra^iiignih. 1. 4, 
Ka^tli^'Hiti 1, Nrisiihhott. 9, etc. 

* On their fourteen names, which the scholiast cites, op. yed4ntasara 


Often as the five pr&nas are enumerated in the 
Upanishads, it is rarely that anything is found which 
serves to explain them. We propose to attempt to 
determine the several conceptions involved, so far as is 

(1) Prdna and (2) Apdna. In the first place, it is 
certain from the witnesses cited on p. 264 that, according 
to Sankara,^ _pr<ina denotes exspiration, apdna inspiration. 
The question is how this result is arrived at. Originally, 
in all probability prdna and apdna both denoted the same 
thing, viz. breath (without distinction of exspiration and 
inspiration) in general (whether with the slight difference 
that pra-an signifies " to begin to breathe," apa-an " to 
cease to breathe," in support of which view Rig v. X. 189. 2 
is quoted, may be left undetermined considering the 
uncertainty of this passage). There is nothing in the pre- 
positions to form the basis of a distinction, since pra {'rrpo) 
"forwards, onwards" is quite ambiguous, and apa (diro, 
from) may just as well mean " from within outwards " as 
" from without inwards." Prdna however is by far the 
more usual expression, and therefore where it stands alone 
frequently denotes the sense of smell, consequently inspi- 
ration, as in the passage S'atap. Br. X. 5. 2. 15 quoted by 
Bohtlingk, or in Brih. 1. 3. 3, Chand. 1. 2. 2, Ait. 1. 3. 4. 
So very clearly in Kaush. 2. 5: — ydvad vai piirusho 
bhdshate, na tdvat prdnitum s'aknoti. Where however 
prdna and apdna stand side by side, there (apart from the 
conception of apdna as the wind of digestion, as to which 
see below), so far as a distinction can be recognised, prdna 
is exspiration and apdna inspiration. This is the case 
probably as early as Ch&nd. 1. 3. 3, because it is said 
previously ^ " this is hot," and " as sound is it described" 

1 On Brahmas<ltra, p. 723. 1-4, and on Ch&nd. 1. 3. 3. 
^ In 1. 3. 2, where pra^a only can be the subject, since apana has not yet 
been named. 

prAna and apAna 277 

Both definitions apply better to exspiration than to in- 
spiration. Though in Brih. 1. 3. 3 and Ch&nd. 1. 2. 2 
prana as the vehicle of scent appears in its more general 
meaning of '* breath " (inspiration and exspiration), in the 
parallel passage Tal. Up. Br. 2. 1. 16 the apana takes its 
place : — " Its misfortune is that it inspires an evil odour 
by the apftna." ^ Here therefore apana is certainly inspi- 
ration. So in Tal. Up. Br. 1. 60. 5 : — apdnena jighrati, 
" a man smells with inspiration," not " one smells with 
exhalation (!)." The same argument applies in Tal. Up. 
Br. 4. 22. 2-3 ; the world-producing waters " huss " iti 
eva prdc'th prds'vasan; sa vdva prdno 'bhavat. Tdh 
prdnya apdnariy sa vd apdno 'bhavat. The sound hv^s 
and the expression prdcth prds'vasan point quite un- 
mistakeably to pr&na as exspiration, and consequently 
to ap&na as inspiration. The principal passage is Brih. 3. 
2. 2 : — -prdifio vai grahah ; so 'pdnena atigrahena grihtto; 
'pdnena hi gandham jighrati. Everyone sees that the 
context requires the meaning faculty of smell and smell, 
and Bohtlingk need not have reproached me on the 
supposition that I failed to see it. He might have 
assumed that I had other reasons for my inability to 
accept his suggestion of a simple correction here in the 
desired sense. My reason was, that there existed here 
something in the background which exercised possibly a 
stronger attraction on the author or redactor of the passage 
than analogy or consistency, viz. — the wish to join pr&na 
and ap&na together here also as grdha and atigraha in 
accordance with their usual association. Apdna therefore, 
inspiration as the vehicle of smell, represented the latter, 
and the explanatory addition {apdnena hi gandham 

^ pdpam gandham apdniti. These words cannot signify, as Oertel main- 
tains is possible, " exhaling bad odour," since it is said previously of the prft^a, 
i^. breath in the mouth according to the paraUel passages, na pdpam gandham 


jighrati) was employed in order to justify the connnec- 
tion, not as before and usually between graha and 
atigraha, but between atigraha and the object which it 
represented. That apana being inspii-ation, prana by its 
side (in its general meaning of " breath ") could not at the 
same time denote the sense of smell, as so often elsewhere, 
would therefore be overlooked. That the original author 
of the paragraph caused this confusion, I find myself 
unable to believe ; but the mistake, if we must so call 
it, is older than the separation of the Kanvas and 
MMhyandinas, and therefore not much less than three 
thousand years old,^ and certainly would not have main- 
tained its ground all this time if apana had not already 
at that period denoted the faculty of smell, and therefore 
inspiration. The same conclusion follows from the sym- 
bolical treatment in Byih. 6. 4. 10-11, where the direction 
is given, if unfruitfulness is desired, ahhiprdnya apdnydt, 
if fruitfulness, apdnya abhiprdnydt The suppression of 
the vital power is sjrmbolised by inspiration, its excita- 
tion by exspiration. Since however the emphasis lies not 
on the gerund but on the finite verb, oupdnydt signifies 
already in this passage "he inspires," abhiprdnydt, "he 
exspires." * It is doubtful whether in K&t^h. 5. 3 Urddhvam 
prdnam unnayiti^ a/pdnam pratyag asyat% exspiration 
and inspiration are to be understood as suggested by 5. 5, 
or not rather already as breath and the wind of digestion. 
In contrast, that is to say, to the accepted idea of pr&na 
as exspiration, ap&na as inspiration, a disposition was 
formed, and grew stronger as time went on, to see in 
pr&na the breath (exspiration and inspiration), and in 
ap&na the wind of digestion dwelling in the bowels. For 
this view the following passages are cited. The pr&na 

^ q>. DeuBsen, ZTpon., p. 377. 

* In the translation I aUow myself to be betrayed into regarding it viu 

vyAna and SAM Ana 279 

originates from the nose, the apana from the navel of the 
primeval man;^ Ykyxx corresponds to the prana, Mrityu 
to the apana;* the pr&na smells the food, the ap&na 
overmasters it.* So possibly in the passage quoted, K&th. 
5. 3. In Prasna 3. 5, the pr&na has its seat in eye, ear, 
mouth and nose, the ap&na presides over the organs of 
evacuation and generation.* The pr&na makes its exit 
upwards, the apS,na downwards, and carries off the 
excrements.* The ap&na serves for evacuation.® The 
prana dwells in the heart, the apana in the bowels.^ The 
apana is neighbour to the testicles.® This is the view 
adopted also by Vedftntasfira 94-95, and the commentary 
on Ch&nd. 3. 13. 3 and S'ankara's judgement on 1. 3. 3 
maintains the same. 

(3) Vydnay " interspiration," is "the bond between 
prS-na and ap^na.* The conception of it is accommodated 
to that of apana. If this is inspiration, then vydna is the 
breath which sustains the life, when e.g. in drawing a stiflF 
bow a man neither inspires nor exspires.^^ If, on the con- 
trary, ap&na is the wind of digestion, then vy&na is the 
bond of union between it and the pr&na," rules in the 
veins,^ and sweeps like a flame through all the limbs. ^* 
So also in Ved&ntas&ra 96. 

(4) Samdnay " all-breathing," bears the name because, 
according to Prasna 4. 4, it "leads to union" (samam 
nayati) exspiration and inspiration. On the other hand, 
according to Prasna 3. 5 and Maitr. 2. 6, it assimilates 
the food, and according to Amyitab. 34, 37 dwells white 
as milk in the navel Cp. VedantasSxa 98. 

1 Ait. 1. 1. 4. > Ait. 1. 2. 4. » Ait. 1. 3. 4, 10. 

^ In Pras'na 4. 2-3, on the contrary, evacuation and generation are 
subordinated to the manas, not to the pr&pas ; apparently therefore it follows 
the view first discussed. 

« Maitr. 2. 6. « Garbha 1. ' Amptabindhu 34. 

» Sannyasa 4. » Ch&nd. 1. 3. 3. i» Ch&nd. 1. 3. 6. 

»> Maitr. 2. 6. " Pras'ua 3. 6. " Amritab. 35. 37. 


(5) Uddna, or "up-breathing," according to the 
usual view maintained also in Pras'na 3. 7, conducts the 
soul from the body at death, while according to Pras'na 4. 
4 already in deep sleep it guides to Brahman ; it is main- 
tained however in Maitr. 2. 6 that udS-na " either brings 
up again or swallows down that which is eaten and drunk." 
Elsewhere it is represented as dwelling in the throat.* 
Similarly also in Ved&ntas&ra 97, where it is otherwise 
explained as the wind of exit. 

5. The subtle Body and its ethical Qualification 
As ftirther companions of the soul on its wanderings 
together with the indriyas, manas, and the pr&nas, the 
later Ved&nta reckons " the primitive substance " (hhiUa- 
d8^Taya)\ i.e. the subtle body, and "the foundation of 
works" {karma'ds'raya\ i.e. the moral qualification 
which conditions, the future life. On both we are able to 
adduce but little from the Upanishads. 

In Ch&nd. 6. 8. 6 * it is said of the dying man : — '* In 
the case of this man, my dear sir, when he dies, his speech 
enters into the manas, manas into the pr&na, pr&na into 
the heat, heat into the supreme godhead." Here, accord- 
ing to S'ankara," as by speech the indriyas as a whole are 
to be understood, so by heat {tejas) the elements as a 
whole, as they constitute the subtle body in their 
character of vehicles of the organs on the departure of 
the soul. According to the words of the text however 
nothing further is implied here than the thought that the 
organs, manas, pr&na and speech, as they have been derived 
according to Ch&nd. 6. 5 by means of food, water, and heat 
from the " one being without a second," so in a similar 
way at death they are again resolved into it as the 
supreme godhead. 

We may recognise a trace of the later theory of the 

» Amritab. 34. • cp. 6. 16. 2. » SAtra 4. 2. 8. 


subtle body more clearly in the great transmigration text 
Chand. 5. 3-10/ where a description is given how the 
waters, having been five times in succession offered in 
sacrifice as faith, soma, rain, food and seed, in the sacrificial 
fires of the heavenly world, of rain, the earth, man and 
woman, " at the fifth sacrifice became endowed with human 
voice." * Here by the " waters " which were offered as 
faith, etc., may certainly be understood the still undivided 
unity of the two companions of the soul, which later were 
distinguished from one another as the subtle body and the 
ethical qualification.' 

The same is true of the leading passage for both 
doctrines,* where it is said of the soul as it departs and 
hastens to a new birth : — '*In truth, this self is Brahman, 
consisting of knowledge, manas, life, eye and ear, consisting 
of earth, water, wind and ether, consisting of fire and 
not of fire, of desire and not of desire, of anger and not 
of anger, of justice and not of justice, consisting of all. 
Exactly as a man in this life consists of this or of that, 
exactly as he acts, exactly as he moves, so will he be bom ; 
he who does good will be bom good, he who does evil will 
be born evil, he becomes holy by holy deeds, evil by 
evil." If we leave out of consideration the addition " and 
not by fire " which is wanting in the MSdhyandina re- 
cension, and from which a satisfactory meaning can only 
with difliculty be extracted, the passage enumerates as 
permanent companions of the soul the organs and five 
elements, as changing factors the moral qualities. We 
see here the theories of the subtle body and the ethical 
qualification growing up side by side. The following 
verse is appended : — 

To this he clings, after this he aspires by his actions. 
Whereby his inner man (liiigam) and his desire (manas) abide. 

1 Bfih. 6. 2. > Chand. 6. 3. 3, 5. 9. 1. 

3 cp. below, Chap. XIV. 6. * Bjih. 4. 4. 6. 


Here we meet, apparently already a technical term, the 
word lingam^ by which the adherents of the SS.nkhya were 
accustomed later to denote the subtle body.^ It is perhaps 
to be taken in the same meaning further on in Kath. 6. 8 
and S Vet. 6. 9 ; where moreover the &tman is described 
as " lord of the lord of the senses," i.e. lord of the subtle 
body. A similar conception may underlie the description 
of the §,tman as "higher than this highest complex of 
life." * The lingam makes its appearance precisely as in 
the later SS.nkhya in Maitr. 6. 10, especially if we read* 
mahad'ddi-avis'esha-antam lingam^ removing the anu- 
sv&ra point, since the subtle body extends from the mahdn 
to the subtle elements {avis'esha)y not to the gross 
(visesha).^ The lingasariram is described in Sarvopani- 
shats. 16 as the vehicle of the organs, the prS.nas, the 
gunas, and the ethical qualification, and accordingly is 
identified with the bands of the heart, of which we have 
put forward another explanation {sup. p. 270), referring 
to Brih. 3. 2. 1-9. 

That finally the actions of the soul (the later karma- 
dsraya) accompany it in the other world, and determine 
the formation of the next life, is often emphasized in the 
Upanishads, and will demand fuller consideration here- 
after. The principal passages for this doctrine are Brih. 3. 

2. 13, 4. 4. 5-6, Chand. 3. 14. 1, K&th. 5. 7, Isa 17, etc. ; 
above all Brih. 4. 4. 3 : — " Then knowledge and actions 
take it by the hand, and its earlier formed experience." 
According to later belief also*^ the thoughts which 
occupy a man in the hour of death are of especial 
significance. This idea is found suggested in Prasna 

3. 10." 

* vwp. p. 242. « Pras'na 6. 5. 
^ Ab suggested, Deussen, Ujpan., p. 337. 

* SMkhya-kdrika 38-40. » Bhag. G. 8. 6. 

^ cp. also Chand. 3. 14. 1, Bj-ih. 4. 4. 5, and the prayer of the dying man 
in Is'A 16-17=Brih. 5. 16. 


6. Physiological Conclusions from the Upanishads 

The gross body which the soul abandons at death as 
the mango fruit its stalk,^ must be distinguished from the 
subtle body, which in its capacity as vehicle of the 
psychical organs accompanies the soul on its wanderings 
up to the time of its release. We propose here by way 
of appendix to collect all that the Upanishads have to say 
on the body, its organs and functions. 

The body is the prana's habitation, of which the head 
forms the roof, in which it is bound to the breath as posts 
by food as the rope.* It is the &tman " consisting of the 
juice of food," annarctsamaya, in which is enclosed the 
jyrdnamaya dtman, in this again the manomaya, in this 
the vijndnamayay and in this as the innennost the dnan- 
damaya,^ Only later* is the dnandamaya fitman also 
described, like the rest, as a sheath kosa of the soul.* 
Usually following Byih. 2. 5. 18, and especially Ch&nd. 8. 
1. 1, the body is described as the city of Brahman {hrahma- 
puram), heavenly,* desirable/ the highest dwelling of 
Brahman,® in which as a house the lotus flower of the heart 
abides,* in which during sleep the fires of the pr&na keep 
watch. ^® This city of the body has eleven,^^ or more usually 
nine gates," viz., the nine openings in the body, to which 
when eleven are reckoned the navel and the Brahman orifice 
(hrahmarandhram) are added. The latter is an imaginary 
orifice of the skull on the top of the head, through which, 
according to Ait. I. 3. 12, Brahman entered into the body, 

* Brih. 4. 3. 36. • Brih. 2. 2. 1. 

« Taitt 2. 1 f. * by Maitr. 6. 27-28. 

^ cp. Sarvopanishats. 9 f., where the annamaya &tman is still further 
divided into six sheaths consisting of food (according to the commentator 
of the Calcutta edition, these are, — bones, marrow, fat, skin, flesh and blood. 

• Mund. 2. 2. 7. ' Brahma-Up. 1. » Mu^id. 3. 2. 1. 
8 Chfind. 8. 1. 1, Mahan. 10. 23, Nuray. 5, Atmabodha. 

'» Pras'na 4. 3. ' " KUth. 6. 1. 

•2 S'vet 3. 18, Yogas'. 4, Yogat. 13, Bhag. G. 6. 13. 


and by which the soul, or according to the more usual 
view only the souls of the emancipated,^ having ascended 
by the hundred and first vein (subsequently named, 
following Maitr. 6. 21, sushumnd), attains to union with 
Brahman.* Thus the conception is old. The name brahma- 
randhram is first found in Hansa Up. 3 in connection 
with the six mystical and imaginary regions on the body 
that occur there for the first time (the regions of the belly, 
loins, navel, heart, neck and eyebrows). It is perhaps 
an anticipation of this when, in Ait. 1. 3. 12, eye, manas 
and the ether of the heart (as the scholiast reckons them), 
are distinguished as special stations of the purusha, or in 
Brahma Up. 4, eye, throat, heart and head (in Brahma Up. 
2, navel, heart, throat and head). From him who forms 
the light within men proceeds also, according to Ch&nd. 3. 
13. 8, the warmth of the body and the noises in the ear. 
The latter like digestion are ascribed by Brih. 5. 9 to the 
Vais'v&nara fire in men, which when we bear in mind 
S'atap. Br. X. 6. 1 amounts to the same thing. The passages 
Mah&n. 11. 10, Maitr. 2. 6, 6. 27, 6. 31 depend on a 
combination of the other two. 

Descriptions of the body and its parts, usually with a 
pessimistic colouring, are first found at a later period. 
"In this evil - smelling unsubstantial body, shuffled 
together out of bones, skin, sinews, marrow, flesh, seed, 
blood, mucus, tears, eye-gum, dung, urine, gall and 
phlegm, how can we enjoy pleasure?"* "This body, 
originating from copulation, grown in the pit (of the 
mother's womb) and issuing forth through the passages of 
the excretions, is a collection of bones daubed over with 
flesh, covered with skin, filled full with dung, urine, 
phlegm, marrow, fat and grease, and to crown all with 
many diseases, like a treasure store crammed with 

1 Ch&nd. 8. 6. 6=Kfttli. 6. 16. 

2 cp. Brahmavidyft 12, and especially Taitt 1. 6. » Maitr. 1. 3. 


treasure."^ A definition of the body is given by Atma 
Up. 1 : — "That self, in which are skin, bones, flesh, 
marrow, hairs, fingers, thumbs, spine, nails, joints, belly, 
navel, pudenda, hips, thighs, cheeks, brows, forehead, 
arms, sides, head, veins, eyes and ears, and which is 
born and dies, is called the external self." 

The most complete elucidation of the body and its 
relations is furnished by the late and unfortunately very 
corrupt Garbha Upanishad. Its explanations are attached 
to a verse, which we quote, inserting the explanations that 
follow it : — " Consisting of five (earth, water, fire, wind, 
ether), ruling in these groups of five (the so-called five 
elements, or the five organs of knowledge, or the organs 
of generation and evacuation with buddhi, manas, and 
speech), supported on six (the sweet, sour, salt, bitter, 
acid and harsh juices of food), endowed with six qualities 
(unexplained), made up of seven elementary substances 
(the white, red, grey, smoke-coloured, yellow, brown, pale 
fluid in the body which is produced from the juice of the 
food), made up of three kinds of mucus (unexplained, 
probably the three dosha, humours, viz., — vdyu wind, 
pittam gaU, kapha phlegm), twice-begotten (from the 
father's seed and the mother's blood), partaking of various 
kinds of food (that which is eaten, drunk, licked and 
sucked up) is the body." On the parts of the body and 
their importance the Upanishad declares at the close : — 
"The head has four skull-bones, and in them there are 
(on each) side sixteen sockets. (In the body) there are 
107 joints, 180 sutures, 900 sinews, 700 veins, 500 
muscles, 360 bones, and 4^ crore (45 million) hairs. The 
heart weighs eight pala (364 grammes), the tongue 12 
pala (546 grammes), the gall a prastham (728 grammes), 
the phlegm an fidhakam (2912 grammes), the seed a 
kudavam (182 grammes), the fat two prastha (1456 

^ Maitr. 3. 4. 


grammes; the dung and the urine are indeterminate, 
depending on the quantity of food." 

The head is compared in a verse from Atharvav. 
X. 8. 9 to a goblet tilted sideways, the opening of 
which is formed by the seven openings of the organs 
of sense as seven rishis. The same verse with the 
addition of speech as an eighth organ is repeated and 
explained in Brih. 2. 2. 3. According to this passage 
the eyes are two rishis, although immediately before 
the red black and white in the eye with the pupil, 
the humour, and the upper and lower lashes, had been 
inconsistently described as seven gods remaining in 
attendance on the eye. Of the purusha in the eye as 
the symbol of the &tman we have already spoken.^ 
According to Brih. 4. 2. 2-3, Indra and Viraj dwell 
in the right and left eye; they are nourished from the 
heart through the veins hitdh,^ and are, by virtue of their 
" union " in the ether of the heart, the individual fitman 
identical with the supreme. 

As an appropriate punishment for arrogance in 
questioning or for the darkness of false knowledge there 
frequently occurs in the Upanishads the bursting of the 
head.* The expression may perhaps have its origin in the 
sensation of bursting which attends any excessive rush of 
blood to the head. This is indicated by Brih. 1. 3. 24 
also, where the reference is to a bursting of the head 
caused by indulgence in soma. As a rule this punishment 
is only threatened.* Only once is it actually inflicted.* 

The heart more than the head occupies the attention 
of the thinkers of the Upanishads. It is there that the 

* sup, p. 114 f. • cp. Maitr. 6. 2. 

' The phrase is better translated in this way than by the falling off of 
the head ; vi-pat might mean either. 

* Chand. 1. 8. 6, 8, 1. 10. 9-11, 1. 11. 4-9, 6. 12. 2, Brih. 3. 6, 3. 7. 1. 

« Brih. 3. 9. 26 ; cp. Atharvav. 19. 28. 4, S'atap. Br. 3. 6. 1. 23, 4. 4. 3. 4, 
11. 4. 1. 9. 


vital breaths reside.^ Not only the five pranas, but also 
eye, ear, speech and manas originate from the heart.* 
The heart and not the head is the home of manas ; * and 
the former therefore is the centre also of conscious life. 
In sleep the organs of the soul remain in the heart,* and 
there also they gather at death ; ^ " through the heart we 
recognise forms," * through the heart we recognise faith, 
beget children, know the truth, on it speech also is based, 
while the further question on what the heart is based 
is angrily rejected.^ Not the organs however alone, but 
all beings are based upon and supported by the heart ; 
and even setting aside the actual definition of the heart 
as Brahman,® it is yet the empirical home of the soul, and 
therefore of Brahman : — " here within in the heart is a 
cavity, wherein he resides, the lord of the universe, the 
ruler of the universe, the chief of the universe." ® The 
heart is called hridayamy because "it is he " who dwells 
"in the heart" (hridi ayarriy Ch^nd. 8. 3. 3), small as a 
grain of rice or barley ; ^® an inch in height the purusha 
dwells in the midst of the body, as the self of created 
things in the heart. ^^ 

On the ground of Chand. 8. 1. 1 the heart is frequently 
in the later Upanishads compared with the hanging cup of 
a lotus flower,^ or even with banana blossom;^ and is 
more fully described in Mahanftr. 11. 8, Dhy&nab. 14-16, 
Yogat. 9, Mah& 3. In this lotus flower of the heart there 
is a small space,^* in which, according to Chand. 8. 1. 3, 
heaven and earth, sun, moon and stars are enclosed, in 
which " the lights of the universe shine enclosed," ^ which 

1 CMnd. 3. 12. 4. • Chdnd. 3. 13. 1-6. » Ait. 1. 2. 4. 

* Brih. 2. 1. 17. » Brih. 4. 4. 1. « Brih. 3. 9. 20. 

' Brih. 3. 9. 21-26. » gp^, 4 1. 7, 9 Bpih. 4. 4. 22. 

" Brih. 6. 6, Chaud. 3. 14. 3. » K&th. 2. 20, 4. 12, 6. 17, etc. 

'2 Maban&r. 10. 23, Nar. 6, Maitr. 6. 2, Brahmab. 16 ; Atiiiab, cp. Upan., 
p. 761 ; Hansa 6. 

i» Dhy&nab. 14. " Or ether, dkaa^a. " Mu^id. 3. 2. 1. 


is " the strong support of this universe." ^ Into this space 
the soul enters in sleep,^ in it the immortal golden 
purusha abides.* It is the cavity {guhd\ so often referred 
to, in which Brahman lies concealed,* and from which he 
issues in the meditation of yoga, when he pushes on 
one side the ether of the heart,*^ or forces his way 
through it.® 

Several accounts are found of the veins that originate 
from the heart and surround it, and these are related in a 
peculiar and hardly definable way. 

Brih. 4. 2. 3 : — The veins called hitdh, fine as a hair 
a thousand times subdivided, have their home in the 
heart, and nourish the individual soul. A special vein 
leading upwards is the path on which it travels. 

Brih. 4. 3. 20 : — ^The veins called hitdhy fine as a hair 
a thousand times subdivided, are filled with white, grey, 
brown, green and red fluid. They are the abode of the 
soul in deep sleep. 

Brih. 2. 1. 19 :— The veins called hitdh, 72,000 in 
number, ramify from the heart outwards into the 
pericardium (puritat). They are the abode of the soul 
in deep sleep. 

These passages are in essential agreement ; and Kaush. 
4. 19 appears to be derived from a combination of 
them : — " The veins called hitdh^ fine as a hair sub- 
divided a thousand times, surround the pericardium 
They are the abode of the soul in deep sleep. They 
are filled with brown, white, black, yellow and red 
fluid." All this is like the passages from Brih., only 
that the succession and names of the colours^ agree 
with Chand. 8. 6. 1. 

ChS,nd. 8. 6. 1 connects the idea of the brown, white, 

1 Brahma Up. 4. « Brih. 2. 1. 17. ^ Taitt. 1. 6. 1. 

* Taitt. 2. 1, Kath. 2. 12, 2. 20, 3. 1, S'vet. 3. 20, Mu^id. 2. 1. 10, etc. 

« Maitr. 6. 27. ^ Maitr. 6. 38. ' Up to krishria for ntla. 


gray, yellow and red "veins of the heart" with the 
theory ^ of the rays of the sun similarly five coloured, 
which form the continuation of the veins unto the sun, 
thus uniting heart and sun, like two villages by a high 
road. In deep sleep the soul glides into these veins,* 
and through them becomes one with the heat." At 
death the soid ascends to the sun by way of the veins 
and the sun's rays. The wise gain the sun, the ignorant 
find the entrance to it closed. 

The verses Brih. 4. 4. 8-9 may perhaps be derived 
from this passage. They describe an ancient path, extend- 
ing even to the individual man, which leads up to the 
heavenly world, and is white, gray, yellow and green. 
On this the soul of the wise man travels, after it has 
become heat, taijasa. The expression taijasa recalls the 
passages quoted from the Ch&ndogya;* the colours are 
as in the BrihadS,ranyaka. In the main point all the 
passages hitherto cited agree. 

A different view however seems to attach to the verse 
(perhaps derived from Brih. 4. 4. 2), which is appended to 
Ch&nd. 8. 6. 6 and recurs in Kfith. 6. 16 : — 

The veins of the heart are a hundred and one. 
Of these one leads to the head ; 
By it he ascends who wins immortality. 
The others issue forth on all sides. 

According to this verse only one vein leads upwards 
to immortality, while according to the preceding prose 
all the veins are connected with the sun's rays, and 
therefore lead to the sun, where first a separation takes 

Later passages all depend on a combination of the 
theories of the 72,000 and the 101 veins. Thus on the 

^ Of which Chdnd. 3. 1-5 is an anticipation. 

> Chdnd. 8. 6. 3. * Uj<u, Ch&nd. 6. 2. 3, 6. 8. 6, 6. 15. 2. 

* cp. also however Bfih. 4. 4. 7. 


basis of them Pras'na 3. 6 enumerates 101 chief veins, 
each with 100 branch veins, to each of which again there 
are 72,000 tributary branch veins, making a total of 
101 + 101 X 100 + 101 X 100 X 72,000 = 727,210,201, i.e, 
72 crores, 72 lacs, and 10,201 as the commentary ^ 
correctly reckons. According to Maitr. 6. 30, countless 
white, not white, blackish yellow, gray, reddish brown, 
and light-red rays proceed from the heart, of which 
one leads to the sun, 100 to the abodes of the gods, and 
the rest downwards to the ordinary world. Kshurika 
15-17 mentions the 72,000 veins, of which 101 are the 
most important. Through all these veins, which are 
grouped around the 101st, named sushumndy as round a 
cushion, the yogin forces his way, when conducted on the 
sushumnd to Brahman. Similarly Brahma vidy& 11-12 
describes how the syllable Cm (i.e. that on which he 
meditates) ascends on the vein of the head which is 
attached to the sun, and breaks through the 72,000 veins 
and the head, in order to unite with Brahman. These 
and other fancies depend upon a combination of the 
passages quoted from Brih. Up. with the verse cited from 
Ch&nd. 8. 6. 6.* 

The body consists on the usual hypothesis, which is 
traceable back to Brih. 4. 4. 5, of the five elements.* In 
ChS.nd. 6. 5 also, where only three elements (food i.e. 
earth, water, and heat) are assumed, it is shown how 
the body and the psychical organs originate from the 
most dense, the medium, and the finest parts of them 
according to the following scheme : — 

Denfiest. Medium. Finest. 

Food . . . faeces flesh manas 

Water . . . urine blood pr&na 

Heat . . . bones marrow speech 

^ According to the reading of the Anand&B'rama edition. 
>=K&th. 6. 16. * Garbha 1. 


In this case, just as with the milk when churned to 
butter, the fine parts float to the top.^ In proof of the 
statement that manas is composed of food, pr^na of 
water, it is declared that if a man abstains from food 
but drinks water the life (prdna) is maintained, but 
thought (manas) fails.* In Brih. 4. 2. 3 also it is declared 
that the individual soul is nourished by the mass of blood 
in the heart, and that it therefore, as the bodily self, " has 
a choice food" {pravivikta'dhdra-tara). From this is 
derived the doctrine that the waking &tman " enjoys that 
which is gross " (sthUlahhuj)^ the sleeping on the contrary 
" enjoys that which is choice " (pravivikta-hhuj).^ 

Hunger and thirst, which according to Ait. 1. 2. 5 
make their home in men as demoniac powers, are 
explained in Chfind. 6. 8 on etymological grounds on the 
supposition that in hunger (as'andyd) the waters carry 
off {as'itam nayante) the food that is eaten (to build up 
the organism), while in thirst {udanyd) the heat carries 
away {udakam nayate) the water that is drunk (likewise 
to build up the organism). When then in hunger and 
thirst the food becomes water, the water heat, they only 
return to the source from which according to Ch&nd. 6. 2 
they were derived. 

The states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep and death 
will have to be discussed in the immediately following 
chapters. Here we propose merely to summarise the 
most important teaching of the Upanishads on the origin 
of organisms (which collectively are the wandering 

Organisms are divided according to their origin into 
four classes, viz. — bom alive, born from an egg, bom 
from moisture (insects and the like), and born from a 
germ (plants). This classification, which was universally 

1 Ch&nd. 6. 6. « Chand. 6. 7. 

* M&^ddkya 3-4, interpreted differently in Vedftntasfira 120. 


adopted with a few modifications by later Indian writers,^ 
depends solely upon two passages of the Upanishads. 
The first is Ch^nd. 6. 3. 1 : — ** In truth, these beings 
have here three kinds of seeds, born from the egg, born 
alive, and bom from the germ." In Ait. 3. 3 where a 
fourth class is added, and the enumeration is " born from an 
egg, born from the mother's womb, bom from moisture, and 
born from a shoot," the impression is conveyed of a later 
origin and of apparent dependence on the former passage. 
In harmony with the doctrine of transmigration, 
generation is not the birth of the soul for the first time, 
but is only its return from the moon, where it has 
received the fruit of the works of its earlier existence. 
According to the principal text of the doctrine of 
transmigration,* the stations through which the soul 
passes on its return from the moon are ether, wind, 
smoke, mist, clouds, rain, plants, seed and the mothers 
body. Hence is derived the description of Mund. 2. 1. 5 ; 
and the verses also of Kaush. 1. 2, in which the soul on 
its return from the moon directs its course through the 
bodies of father and mother, are connected with these 
ideas. Perhaps the obscure passage Pr&nfignihotra Up. 2 
is to be explained in a similar way. According to it the 
expiatory fire " by means of the brilliancy of the moon " 
effects generation." The last receptacle of the soul on its 
descent from the other world to enter into a new body is 
the father's seed ; this is the essence of men,* " the power 
gathered together from all the limbs,"* it is the pro- 

1 Manu 1. 43-4S, MaMbb. 14. 1136, 2543, etc ; cp. for the Vedftnta, S^. 
d, Ved,^ p. 259 ; for the SMkhya, Garbe, Sdnkhyaphilosophie^ p. 243 ; for the 
Ny&ya, Colebrooke, Misc. Esmys, I. p. 269 f. 

« Ch&nd. 5. 10. 5-6=Brih. 6. 2. 16. 

' N&r&ya^a's explanation is different in the gloss quoted in Upan,^ p. 615, 
Anm. 2. 

* Brih. 6. 4. 1. 

' Ait. 2. 1 ; on the expression tambhritam iejat^ cp. Meghaddta 43. 


pagation itself;^ its home is in the heart;* Praj&pati 
created the woman as its dwelling-place;^ into her the 
man pours forth his own self, and causes it thereby to be 
bom : — " then enters he into the very essence of the 
woman, as though he were a limb of hers ; therefore it is 
that he does her no harm ; she however, after that this 
his S.tman has come to her, cherishes it; because she 
cherishes it, therefore is she to be cherished." * According 
to this it is the soul of the father, which is bom again in 
the child, while, according to the principal text of the 
doctrine of transmigration* quoted above, the child is a 
soul on its return from the moon, and consequently in 
its view both the father's seed and the mother's womb 
are only stations on the road. The myth ascribed to 
Yajiiavalkhya in Brih. 1. 4. 3-4 is not in agreement with 
either of these views, when it explains procreation as 
the desire for re-union of the two halves of one and the 
same being, originally belonging together, but divided by 
Praj&pati into man and woman. This myth, like that 
analogous to it in the Symposium of Plato, departs from 
the truth only to the extent that it places in the past 
what lies in the future. For the being that brings 
together man and woman is indeed the child that will 
be bom (cp. Deussen, Elements of MetaphysiCy 153). 

To beget is represented as a religious duty. In Taitt. 
1. 9 it is enjoined side by side with studying and teaching 
the Veda. Frequently it is allegorically described as an 
act of sacrifice.® In Taitt. 1. 11 the pupil dismissed from 
study is charged, — " After having delivered to the teacher 
the gifts of affection, take care that the thread of thy 
race l)e not broken." " He who in his lifetime rightly 
continues to spin the thread of posterity thereby transfer? 

1 Brill. 6. 1. 6. • Brih. 3. 9. 22. » Bj-ili. 6. 4. 2. 

* Ait. 2. 2-3. « Chdnd. 6. 10. 5-6. 

« Chand. 3. 17. 5, 5. 8-9, Brih. 6. 2. 13, a 4. 3. 


his guilt to the fathers; for it (begetting) is the trans- 
ference of his guilt." ^ By the son his continued life is 
assured in the world of men,* he is admitted to the fathers 
to consummate his righteous deeds ; * " and if anything 
whatever has been committed perversely by him, his son 
will expiate all ; therefore is his name ' son ' ; * by the son 
that is to say he continues to exist in this world."* 
Particular directions are given in Brih. 6. 4 how to 
proceed in order to beget a son or a daughter of a definite 
disposition. This chapter forms the conclusion of the 
Upanishad, and therefore probably the close of the 
religious instruction imparted to the student at the end 
of his student life. 

In contrast with these views, which include the act of 
procreation within the sphere of religious duties, an 
ascetic tendency gradually prevailed which rejected it 
altogether. In Brih. 1. 4. 17 the five natural objects of 
human endeavour (self, wife, child, kingdom, action) are 
replaced by five phenomenal forms of the &tman (manas, 
speech, breath, eye and ear, body). In Brih. 3. 5. 1 it is 
said of Br&hmans who have known the &tman that they 
hold aloof from the desire for children, possessions, and the 
world. Similarly in Bpih. 4. 4. 22, where it has been said 
previously : — " This our ancestors knew, when they ceased 
to desire offspring, and said, — *What need have we of 
offspring, we whose soul this universe is.'" If these 
assertions are put into the mouth of Yfijnavalkhya, who 
nevertheless himself had two wives, this is only an 
additional proof that Y&jfiavalkhya is a mere name, to 
which the loftiest and noblest thoughts of the school of 
the V&jasaneyins were assigned. Whether in the wish 
also of Ch&nd. 8. 14 : — " May I not, the glorious of the 

1 Mah&n. 63. 8. « Brih. 1. 5. 16. • Ait 2. 4. 

^ putrOf because he pHrar^ena trdycUi pitaram^ S'ank. 
» Brih. 1. 6. 17. 


glorious, enter upon old age toothless," the expression 
" toothless, grey, slobbery " is to be understood of a fresh 
entrance into the mother's womb (as the scholiast takes 
it), or of a possibly long period of trial before old age and 
its troubles are reached may be left undecided. Of later 
passages only Mahftn. 62. 7, 11, 63. 8, 13 need be cited, 
where self-renunciation is exalted above parentage, and 
Prasna 1. 13, 15, where the prajdpativratam is still per- 
mitted on the condition that it is not practised by day, 
but the world of Brahman is promised only to those 
"who mortify themselves, in whom true chastity is 
firmly established." That the later Sanny&sa Upanishads 
are full of this spirit needs no proof. Sacrifice to 
Prajapati, which is enjoined in them on the Sanny&sin 
at his entrance,^ but is elsewhere forbidden,* appears 
to denote a symbolical release from the duty of pro- 

The length of the stay in the mother s body is 
estimated in Ch&nd. 5. 9. 1 at " ten (lunar) months, or 
as long as it is." Detailed information on the develop- 
ment of the embryo is given in Garbha Up. 2-4 : — " The 
embryo is developed from the union of seed and blood, 
. . . from this union at the periodical time after one 
night a nodule arises, after seven nights a cyst, within 
half a month a lump, within one month it hardens, after 
two months the head is formed, after three months the 
parts of the feet, in the fourth month the ankle-bones, 
belly and hips, in the fifth the spine, in the sixth, mouth, 
nose, eyes and ears, in the seventh the embryo is 
furnished with the soul (jtva), in the eighth it is complete 
in all its parts. If the male seed is in excess a male 
is born, if the female a female, if both are equal a 
hermaphrodite; blind, lame, bent and dwarfed are the 
results of lack of power. If the seed on its entrance is 

1 KanthasV. 4. « J&b&la 4. 


divided by the pressure of the wind on either side into 
two parts, the body also becomes twofold, and twins are 
bom. . . . Finally in the ninth month it is complete in all 
its parts, and also in knowledge ; then it recalls (as long 
as it remains still in the mother's body, like V&madeva, 
Ait. 2. 4) its former births, and has knowledge of its good 
and evil deeds ; . . . when however, arriving at the gates 
of the sexual parts, it suffers pain by the pressure, is with 
difficulty and in great anguish bom, and comes into 
contact with the Vaishnava wind (the wind of the 
external universe), it is unable any longer to bethink it 
of its births and deaths, and has no further knowledge of 
its good and evil deeds." Voltaire's mockery (Ep. XIII. 
sur les Anglais) has reference to similar ideas in the later 
Western philosophy, but it applies also to the Indian a 
priori imaginations : — je ne suis pas plus dispose que 
Locke k imaginer que, quelques semaines aprfes ma 
conception, j'^tais une kme fort savante, sachant alors 
mille choses que j'ai oubli^es en naissant et ayant fort 
inutilement poss^d^ dans 1 'uterus des connaissances qui 
m'ont ^chapp6 des que j'ai pu en avoir besoin et que je 
n'ai jamais bien pu reprendre depuis. 

XIIL The States of the Soul 

1. The Four States 

As the S,tman, "becoming incamate in bodily form,"* 
in space occupies the body as the aggregate of the organs 
" right up to the finger-tips," ^ so also in time it passes 
in this its individual condition, through a series of states, 
in which its real metaphysical nature becomes gradually 
more and more plainly visible. These states are: — (1) 
waking, (2) dream sleep, (3) deep sleep {sushupti)^ i.e. 

1 sariraivdya dehin, Ka^h. 6. 7. ^ Bph. 1. 4. 7. 


deep, dreamless sleep, in which the soul becomes tem- 
porarily one with Brahman and enjoys a corresponding 
unsurpassable bliss, and (4) the " fourth " state (caturtha, 
turya, turiya\ usually called turiyay in which that dis- 
appearance of the manifold universe and the union with 
Brahman on which the bliss of deep sleep depends takes ; 
place not as before unconsciously, but with continued and 
perfect consciousness. 

The theory of these four states took shape at first by 

To begin with, it may well have been the loss of con-! 
sciousness in sleep, and its return on waking which 
aroused attention and suggested such questions as in Brih. . 

2. 1. 16:^ — "When he fell asleep here, where was that 
spirit consisting of knowledge (vijndnamayah purusha)^ 
and whence has it now returned (on waking)?" This 
marvellous phenomeuon of sleep was then explained as a * 
transient immersion of the organs (speech, eye, ear and 
manas) in the prdna. This is the case in S atap. Br. X. 3. 

3. 6, and in the passage (IMnd. .4.._3. 3 which agrees with ; 
it almost verbally : — " For when a man sleeps, his speech i 
enters into the prana, the eye into the prana, the ear into 
the prana, the manas into the prana." Chand. 6. 8. 2 is a 
mere amplification of this explanation of sleep (perhaps 
with a recollection of Brih. 4. 3. 19) : — " Just as a bird tied 
to a string flies to this side and to that, and having found 
no resting-place elsewhere settles down on the spot to 
which it is tied, so also, my dear sir, the manas flies to 
this side and to that, and having found no resting-place 
elsewhere, settles down into the pr&na, for the prana, my 
dear sir, is the spot to which the manas is tied." The 
immediately preceding words of Chand. 6. 8. 1 are derived 
from a somewhat different conception : — " When it is said 
that the man is asleep, then has he, my dear sir, attained 

> cp. Eaush. 4. 19. 


to union with the self-existent (previously described in 
Chand. 6. 2 f.). He has entered into himself, therefore it 
is said of him " he sleeps " {sva^iti\ for he has entered 
into himself {svam oupitay^ 

None of these passages make any distinction between 
the sleep of dreams and deep sleep. Such a distinction 
is first found in Brih. 4._3._9--18, 19-33, then in Brih. 
2^1. 18-19,' and finally CMnd. 8^ 6. 3, 8. 10, 11-12.* 
This may well be the historical order. In Brih. 4. 3. 9-33 
the distinction is not so fully carried out as in Brih. 2. 1. 
18-19, where the name sushupta for the "deep sleeper," 
which is still wanting in Brih. 4. 3. 9-33, first makes its 
appearance, and from this are further developed the terms 
sushuptam^ and sushupti^ for "deep sleep." The ampli- 
fications of Chftnd. 8 seem to be the latest of all, and 
dependent already on Brih. 4. 3. 9-33; for when in 
Ch&nd. 8. 3. 4 '^ deep sleep is described (not as in Ch&nd. 
6. 8. 3 in connection with Ch&nd. 6. 2. 3, 6. 8. 6 as a union 
with the tejas, but) as an entrance into the purest light, 
and an emergence therefrom as a necessary consequence 
in its own true form {jparam jyotir upasampadya svena 
riiperia ahhinishpadhyate), this peculiar conception may of 
course be referred back to Ch&nd. 3. 13. 7, but it seems 
more natural to find in it a reminiscence of the " spirit 
consisting of knowledge, giving light within in the heart" 
of Brih. 4. 3. 7, which, as is there further expounded, " by 
virtue of its own brightness, its own light, serves as a 
light for itself" in waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. 
It is surely also a proof of dependence that the word 
samprasdday which in Brih. 4. 3. 15, a passage that had 
probably already suffered interpolation, still has the 
meaning of the " perfect rest " of deep sleep, is used in 

1 cp. Kaush. 4. 20. « cp. Cb&nd. 8. 3. 4. 

3 From and after M&^d. 5. * From and after Kaivalya 13. 17. 

* =8. 12. 3. 


Chand. 8. 3. 4, 8. 12. 3 directly of "the soul in deep 

The brief notice of Ait 1. 3. 12 is drawn from these 
older passages, and the more detailed discussions on 
dream sleep and deep sleep of Prasna 4 are similarly 

By the side of waking, dreaming and deep sleep, there is 
found a fourth and higher condition of the &tman, viz. — the 
caturtham^ turyam, turtyam (sc. sthdnam\ or the turtya 
(sc. dtmd). It occurs first in M&nd. 7, as compared with 
which the passages Maitr. 6. 19, 7. 11, which belong to 
the appendix, are probably later. Here also the three first 
states are denoted by the mystical names Vaisvdnara^ 
Taijdsa^ Prdjna. The waking soul is in this instance 
called vais'vdnara perhaps because all men in their waking 
hours have a world in common,^ but in dreams each has 
his own; the dreaming soul taijasay probably because 
then the fttman alone is its own light ; * the deep-sleeping 
soul prdjnay because in deep sleep the &tman, according to 
Brih. 4. 3. 21, is temporarily one with the prdjna dtman, 
i.e. Brahman. 

. The discussion of the four states severally may be 
introduced by the definition of them given in Sarvo- 
panishats&ra 5-8 : — 

" When using the fourteen organs of which manas is 
the first (manas, buddhi, cittam, ahank&ra, and the faculties 
of knowledge and action), that are developed outwards, and 
besides are sustained by deities such as &ditya, etc., a man 
regards as real the external objects of sense, as sounds, 
etc., this is named the waking (jdgaranam) of the 

" When freed from waking impressions, and using only 
four organs (manas, buddhi, cittam, ahankSra), apart from 

^ As HeracleitQs says, on Plut. de Superdit 3. 

' 8V0na bhdtd^ ivenajyotishd prasvapiti^ Bpih. 4. 3. D. 


the actual presence of the sounds, etc., a man regards 
as real sounds dependent on those impressions, this is 
named the dreaming {svapnaniy here neuter) of the 

" When as a result of the quiescence of all fourteen 
organs and the cessation of the consciousness of 
particular objects, a man (is without consciousness), 
this is named the deep sleep (siishuptam) of the 

** When the three states named have ceased, and the 
spiritual subsists alone by itself, contrasted like a spec- 
tator with all existing things as a substance undiffe- 
rentiated, set free from all existing things, this spiritual 
state is called the turiyam (the fourth)." 

2. The Waking State 

" The Vais'vdnaray that exists in a waking condition, 

recognising external objects, with seven limbs and nineteen 

mouths, enjoying that which is material, is his first 

quarter." ^ The &tman in the first of the four states, that 

of waking, is said to be " seven-limbed " because, according 

I to Chand. 5. 18. 2, whence the name vais'vdnara is 

j derived, it consists of sky, sun, wind, ether, water, earth 

Uud (sacrificial) fire, and recognises this its cosmical being 

by means of its " nineteen-mouthed " (ten indriyas, five 

pranas, manas, buddhi, ahankSxa, cittam) psychical being. 

Thus it enjoys the world of " material " objects. Raivalya 

12 may be quoted in explanation : — 

Wlien his soul is blinded l)y mdyA, 
It inhabits the body and accomplishes actions; 
By women, food, drink, and many enjoyments, 
It obtains satisfaction in a waking condition. 

As these passages already indicate, it is his own being 
alone which in the waking state the vais'vdnara evolves 


out of himself and enjoys as the world of material objects. 
On this the relation of waking and dreaming depends, 
which is already indicated when in Ait. 1. 3. 12 there are 
ascribed to the S.tman "three dream-states" {trayah 
svajmdh), by which, according to the commentators, 
waking, dreaming and deep sleep are to be understood. 
Even waking is a dream-state, because in it, as S'ankara 
remarks on this passage, " a waking of one's own real self 
does not occur, and a false reality is contemplated, just as 
in a dream." ^ This connection of waking with the dream- 
state is discussed in great detail by GaudapMa in the 
Mfi,ndukya-k&rikft. Waking, like dreaming, is a delusion, 
since it reflects for us a manifold universe ; * the percep- 
tions of waking, just like those of a dream, have their 
origin solely within us,' and have no other existence than 
in the mind of him who is awake.* And as the reality of 
the dream is dissipated on awakening, so, on the other 
hand, the waking reality is dissipated by the oblivion of 
the dream.* The same thought may perhaps be traced as 
early as Brih. 4. 3. 7, where the knowledge and initiative 
of the &tman are first explained as merely apparent, and 
then the reason for this is assigned, that the &tman in the 
dream transcends the unreal phenomena of waking : — " it 
is as thoHghhe meditated, it is as though he moved about ; 
for * in sleep he transcends this world and the forms of 
death." Just as a fish swims between two banks without 
touching them, so the &tman between the states of waking 
and dreaming ; ^ from waking he hastens to dreaming, and 
from this again " back to the waking state ; but by nothing 
which he sees therein is he affected ; for nothing cleaves 
to this spirit."^ 

1 On other ezpresdions of S'ankara in this sense, cp. Syst, d, Ved,, pp. 
297, 299, 372. 

« 2. 6, 3. 29. » 4. 37. < 4. 66. 

» 2. 7, 4. 32. • sa hi, for which the Mddhy. read sadhfh. 

' Brih. 4. 3. 18. 8 Brih. 4. 3. 16. 


3. Dream-sleep 

The principal passage on which apparently all others 
depend is Brih. 4. 3. 9-14 : — 

"When now he falls asleep, he takes from this all- 
comprehending universe the timber, cuts it down, and 
himself builds up of it his own light, by virtue of his 
own brilliance ; when therefore he sleeps this spirit serves 
as light for itself. There are there no carts, no teams, 
no roads, but carts, teams and roads he fashions for 
himself; there is no bliss, joy or desire, but bliss, joy 
and desire he fashions for himself; there are no wells, 
pools and streams, but wells, pools and streams he fashions 
for himself; for he is the creator. To this the following 
verses refer : — 

Throwing off in sleep what pertains to the body, 
Sleepless he contemplates the sleeping organs; 
Borrowing their light he returns then back to his place, 
The golden spirit, the sole bird of passage. 

This lower nest he would have guarded by the life. 
And himself rises aloft immortal from the nest ; 
Immortal he moves whither he wiU, 
The golden spirit, the sole bird of passage. 

In the dream-state he moves up and down, 

And fashions for himself as god many forms, 

At one time gaily sporting as it were with woman, 

At another again glowering as it were with terrible mien. 

Only his playground is seen here. 
He himself is not seen anywhere. 

Therefore it is said, — he should not be wakened 
suddenly, for it is difficult to find a cure for one to 
whom he fails to find his way back. Therefore it is 
said also, — it (sleep) is for him only a waking state, 
for what he sees waking, the very same also he sees in 
sleep. Thus therefore this spirit serves for a light 
for itself." 


In this passage two methods of conceiving the dream 
are poetically united. According to the one, the spirit 
remains in its place, and fashions from itself " by virtue j 
of its own brilliance its own light," a new world of forms, 
using the materials of its waking hours. According to 
the other^the spirit in dreaming forsakes the body, and 
"moves whither it will," and consequently at times 
finds difficulty in returning to the body. 

These two conceptions which are derived only from 
poetical imagination and do not essentially differ are 
taken up seriously in Brih. 2. 1. 18, and are reconciled 
with one another by limiting the wanderings of the 
dreamer to his own body : — " Where then he wanders 
in dreaming, these are his worlds; for he is as it were 
a great king or a great Br4hman ; or he ascends as 
it were or descends.^ And just as a great king takes his 
subordinates with him, and journeys throughout his land 
at will,^ so he takes with him those vital spirits, and 
journeys about at will in his body." This extraordinary 
theory which has no natural foundation of a journeying 
about in the body during dreams, finds its explanation 
as an attempt to reconcile the different conceptions of 
the fundamental passage above quoted. The comparison 
also with the great Idng and great Brahman seems to 
be based on the succeeding words of Brih. 4. 3. 20, which 
describes as follows the transition from the dreaming 
consciousness of being this or that to the deep sleep 
consciousness of being another : — " When now (in a 
dream) it is as though he were slain, as though he were 
flayed, as though he were trampled upon by an elephant 
(vic'chdyayati), or plunged into a pit, — everything of 
which he was afraid in his waking hours, that very 

* ucc'dvacamfh nigac'c'haJti^ according to Byih. 4. 3. 13 uc'c'dvcic'am 

2 Recalling Brih. 4. 3. 37-38. 


thing in his ignorance he regards as real ; or, on the other 
hand, when it is as though he were a god or a king, 
on becoming conscious I alone am this universe, — this 
is his highest state." That is to say, as the paragraph 
.goes on to state, it is the condition of deep sleep, in 
f which a man knows himself to be one with the universe, 
[and is therefore without objects to contemplate, and 
consequently without individual consciousness.^ And 
when in Ch&nd. 8. 10. 2 it is said of the dreamer : — " It 
I is still however as though he were slain, as though 
' he were trampled upon {yicchdyayanti), as though he 
experienced hardship, as though he lamented," the con- 
nection with the passage quoted from Brih. 4. 3. 20 is 
obvious. The meaningless vic'c'hddayanti of Ch&nd. 
8. 10. 2 was changed by M. Muller* into vicchdyaydnti. 
An almost inevitable consequence of this change, bearing 
in mind the great rarity of this expression, is that Ch&nd. 
8. 10. 2 is immediately dependent on Brih. 4. 3. 20. 
The converse supposition, or even the idea of an inter- 
polation of Brih. 4. 3. 20 from Ch^nd. 8. 10. 2,' is 
scarcely probable in view of the general character of the 
two passages. 

Prasna 4. 5 is more certainly dependent on Brih. 
4. 3. There, after it has been shown how in sleep manas 
absorbs into itself the ten indriyas, so that only the 
prftna fires keep watch in the city of the body, the 
dream is described as follows: — "Then that god (viz. 
manas) enjoys greatness, inasmuch as he sees yet again 
that which was seen here and there, hears yet again 
things heard here and there, perceives again and again 
in detail that which was perceived in detail in its sur- 
roundings of place and circumstance ; the seen and the 
unseen, the heard and the unheard, the perceived and 

^ Bjih. 4. 3. 21 f. " Followed by Bohtlingk and myself. 

• The possibility of which was still in my mind in 17|>an., pp. 464, 470. 


the unperceived, the whole he views, as the whole he 
views it {sarvam pa^'yati^ sarvah pasyati)" The last 
words especially, when compared with Brih. 4. 3. 20 
{dkam eva idam sarvo 'smi^ iti manyate)^ place the 
derivative character of this passage quite beyond doubt. 

Of later passages we cite only M&nd. 4, where after 
the exposition of the waking state discussed above it 
is similarly said of dreaming : — " The Taijctsa^ existing 
in the dream-state, possessed of inner knowledge, with 
seven limbs and nineteen mouths, enjoying that which 
is excellent, is his second quarter." The expressions 
"seven-limbed," " nineteen-mouthed " are explained as 
above on waking. The dream-soul is said to be " enjoying 
that which is excellent" (jyraviviktabhuj) undoubtedly 
with reference to Bpih. 4. 2. 3, where it is said of the 
individual soul that it in contrast to the body " has an 
excellent provision " {pravivikta-dhdratara.) 

A discussion of the illusion of dreams with a view to 
elucidate the illusion of waking is furnished by Gaudapada 
2. 1 f., 4. 33 f., where the same thoughts already appear, 
which later on S'ankara, a pupil of his pupil, has further 

4. Deep Sleep 

Dream-sleep passes over into deep sleep, when by 
virtue of a nearer approach to the other world ^ the 
dreaming consciousness of being this or that, a god or 
kmg, etc., passes over, as is described in Brih. 4. 3. 20, [ 
into the consciousness of being the universe ; and this, 
since there are no longer any contrasted objects, is no 
consciousness in an empirical sense, but a transient union 
with the prdjna dtman, the eternal knowing subject, 
i.e. with Brahman. These thoughts are expanded in 
the most important text that treats of deep sleep, and 

^ cp. Syst. d. Ved., p. 371. a gj-ih, 4^ 3^ 9^ 



which is probably also the oldest, Bplu, 4, 3. 19-33 :— 
" Just as there however in space a hawk or an eagle, after 
it has circled round, folds its wings wearied, and drops 
to the ground, so also the spirit hastens to that state 
in which fallen asleep it no longer experiences any 
desires nor sees any dream image." Then after a 
reference to the veins hitdh, in which according to BriL 
2. 1. 19, etc., the soul rests in deep sleep, and after the 
description of the transition from dreaming to deep sleep 
it is said : — " That is its real form, in which it is exalted 
above desire, free from evil and is fearless. For just as 
a man, embraced by a beloved wife, has no consciousness 
of outer or inner, so also the spirit embraced by the 
self consisting of knowledge {prdjnena dtmand^ i.e. by 
Brahman) has no consciousness of outer or inner. That 
is his real form, in which desire has been laid to rest, 
he is himself his own desire, is without desire and free 
from pain. Then the father is no longer father, the 
mother no longer mother, the worlds no longer worlds, 
the gods no longer gods," etc., all contrasts are lost in 
the eternal One, "then is he unaffected by good and 
unaffected by evil, then has he overcome all the pangs 
of his heart. If he then sees not, yet is he seeing, though 
he sees not ; since for the seeing One there is no inter- 
ruption of seeing, because he is imperishable ; there is 
moreover no second besides him, no other distinct from 
him for him to see." It is in this prolongation of 
existence as pure objectless knowing subject that the 
bliss of this state consists ; an existence such as is seen 
in deep sleep, as is expounded later on in a continuation 
of the passage already discussed.^ Brih. 2. 1. 19 might 
perhaps be regarded as a brief summary of the thought 
of this section : — " When however he is in deep sleep, 
when he is conscious of nothing, then the veins called 

^ p. 142 f. 


hitdh, seventy-two thousand of which branch out from 
the heart into the pericardium, come into action ; into 
these he glides, and rests in the pericardium ; and just 
as a youth or a great king or a great Brahman is at rest 
enjoying an excess of bliss/ so he also is then at rest." 

Union with the prdna (which is identified with the 
prdjndtman) ia the essential element of deep sleep in 
Kaush. 3. 3 also : — " When a man has fallen so sound 
asleep that he sees no dream-image, then he has attained 
union with this prana ; then speech enters therein with 
all names, the eye with all forms, the ear with all sounds, 
the manas with all thoughts." Kaush. 4. 19-20 is a 
combination of the two last-quoted passages. 

The passages of the Ch&nd. Up. also which deal with 
deep sleep give throughout the impression of being of a 
derivative character. We quote them, referring as far as 
possible within parentheses to passages that have been 
employed as models. 

^^ When a man has fallen so sound asleep, and has so 
completely and perfectly been lulled to rest, that he 
knows no dream-image, then he has glided into these 
veins (Brih. 2. 1. 19, 'into these he glides'); therefore 
no evil troubles him (Brih. 4. 3. 22, 'then is he 
untouched by good and untouched by evil'), for he has 
then become one with the heat" (Ch&nd. 6. 2. 3, 6. 8. 6).* 
" When a man has fallen so sound asleep, and has so 
completely and perfectly been lulled to rest that he knows 
no dream-image, that is the Self, so he spake, that is the 
immortal, the fearless, that is Brahman." • The rejoinder 
is given : — " He has entered then into nothingness ; 
herein I can discern notihing consolatory,"* and this is 

^ atighnim dnandasya ; this expression combines the ideas of Bfih. 4. 3. 33, 
sup. p. 142. 

> CUnd. 8. 6. 3. » Ch&nd. 8. 11. 1. 

* cp. the rejoinder of Maitreyi, Bfih. 2. 4. 13, — "Therefore, sir, you have 
led me astray, in that you say that after death there is no consciousness." 


met by a reference to wind and cloud, lightning and 
thunder, which emerge from the latent condition, and 
thereby reveal their true nature : — " so also this perfect 
tranquillity {samprasdda, in Brih. 4. 3. 15 *deep sleep,* 
here and ChS^nd. 8. 3. 4 * the soul in deep sleep,' cp. Brih. 
4. 3. 7 sa hi svapno bhUtvd) emerges from this body 
(Brih. 4. 3. 11 : — 'casting away in sleep what pertains to 
the body'), enters into the purest light, and issues forth 
through it in its own form (Brih. 4. 3. 9 : — * when he thus 
sleeps, then this spirit serves for its own light ') ; that is 
the supreme spirit, who wanders about there (Brih. 4. 3. 
12 : — * Immortal he roves whither he pleases'), while he 
sports and plays and amuses himself, whether it be with 
women (Brih. 4. 3. 13: — *at one time as it were gaily 
sporting with women '), or with chariots (Byih. 4. 3. 10), or 
with friends, and gives no thought to this appendage of a 
body, to which the pr&na is yoked, like a team to the 
waggon (Brih. 4. 3. 35 : — * Just as a cart, when it is 
heavily laden, goes creaking ')." It seems to be due to a 
misunderstanding of the verse Brih. 4. 3. 11-14 that here, 
as abeady in Byih. 4. 3. 15, that which belongs solely to 
dream-sleep is ascribed to deep sleep. In Prasna 4. 6 
also, as in Ch&nd. 8. 6. 3, deep sleep is conceived as a 
union with the heat (tejas) : — " When however that god 
is overcome by the heat, then he sees no dreams, and tien 
that joy rules in this body." 

Finally the description of deep sleep in M&nd. 5 is 
entirely composed of reminiscences of other passages : — 
The state in which he, fallen asleep, no longer ex- 
periences any desires, nor sees any dream-image (Byih. 4. 

3. 19), is deep sleep. The prdjna that exists in the state 
of deep sleep, that has become one (Brih. 4. 4. 2), that 
consists entirely through and through of knowledge (Brih. 

4. 5. 13), consisting of bliss (Taitt. 2. 5), enjoying bliss, 
having consciousness as its mouth (Bfih. 4. 3. 21, 35), is 



his third quarter. He is the lord of all (Brih. 4. 4. 22), 
he is the all-knowing (Mund. 1. 1. 9), he is the inner 
guide (Brih. 3. 7), he is the cradle of the universe (Mund. 
1. 1. 6), for he is the creation and dissolution (Kath. 6. 
11) of living beings." 

5. Tlie Turiya 

Waking, dream-sleep and deep sleep are the only three 
states of the fitman which are found in the older 
Upanishads. According to their view, perfect union with 
Brahman, and therefore the highest attainable state, is 
reached in deep sleep. "This is his highest aim, this 
is his highest good fortune, this is his highest world, 
this is his highest bliss." ^ These words, which are 
used of deep sleep, exclude the thought of a yet higher 

It was first later on, with the rise of the Yoga system, 
that in the yoga a state of the soul gained recognition, 
which was exalted above deep sleep, inasmuch as that 
union with Brahman and the supreme bliss associated 
therewith, which manifests itself in deep sleep apart from 
continued individual consciousness retaining its memory 
even after waking, is realised in the yoga together with 
complete maintenance of the waking individual conscious- 
ness. This distinction between the yoga and deep sleep 
is very clearly described by Gaudap&da : * — 

As eternal changeless knowledge, 

Not distinct from that which is known. 

Brahman is ever known, — 

By the eternal is the eternal known. 

This process consists in this, 
The irresistible suppression 
Of aU movements of the spirit, — 
It is otherwise in deep sleep. 

» Brih. 4. 3. 32. « Md^dtikya-K. 3. 33 f. 


The spirit gives light in deep deep, 
But when suppressed it gives no light, 
It becomes Brahman, the fearless, 
The sole and entire light of knowledge. 

This suppression of consciousness of objects and union 
with the eternal knowing subject which is brought about 
by the yoga and is coincident with absolute wakefulness, 
is designated as the " fourth " state of the fitman by the 
side of waking dreaming and deep sleep ; as caturiha^ or, 
adopting the ancient Vedic and therefore more formal 
word for caturtha, as turtya ; * and in the latter case both 
"the turiya " (sc. dtmdy masc.) and also " the turtyam " (sc. 
sthdnam, neut.) were employed. Since this state forms 
in fact a part of the yoga system, we shall learn more 
of it in detail in our discussion of the latter in a later 
connection, and here we propose merely to cite the 
passages in which the doctrine of the turtya makes its 
first appearance. This conception is undoubtedly antici- 
pated by the ancient doctrine of the four feet of Brahman 
in his character of G&yatrt ; * but the oldest passages in 
which the turiya is announced as a fourth distinct state of 
jthe atman are M&nd. 7 and Maitr. 6. 19, 7. 11. Of these 
the passages from the Maitr. Up. (appendix) would seem 
to be the later, since they assume the turtya state as 
already known, which is not the case in M&nd. 7. In the 
latter also the technical term tuHya is still missing, and 
in its place caturtha is once employed. This passage, of 
which later writers make much use, runs as follows : — 

" Knowing neither within nor without nor yet on the 
two sides, nor again consisting throughout of knowledge, 
neither known nor unknown, — invisible, intangible, in- 
comprehensible, indescribable, unthinkable, inexpressible, 
founded solely on the certainty of its own self, efiacing the 

1 M&v4. 7. « Also turya. 

' Ch&nd. 3. 12, 3. 18, 4. 5-8, Brih. 6. 14, where the very expression turiya 
is already found. 


entire expanse of the universe, tranquil, blissful, timeless, 
— that is the fourth (caturtha) quarter, that is the &tman, 
that we must know." 

The best exposition is given by the pertinent strophes 
of GaudapSda : ^ — 

Neither of trutli nor untruth, 

Neither of itself nor another 

Is Prdfiia (deep sleep) ever conscious, 

The fourth (turya) views everything eternally 

In the refusal to recognise plurality 
The PrdjUa and the fourth are equal ; 
Yet Prdjfla lies in slumber like a germ. 
The fourth knows no slumber. 

Dreams and sleep belong to the two first, 
A dreamless sleep is the possession of the Prdfila, 
Neither dreams nor sleep does he who knows it 
Ascribe to the fourth. 

The dreamer's knowledge is false. 
The sleeper knows nothing at all, 
Both go astray, where all this vanishes 
There the fourth state is reached. 

In the world's iUusion that has no beginning 
The soul sleeps ; when it awakes 
Then there awakes in it the eternal, 
Timeless and free from dreams and sleep. 

Assuming this doctrine of the turiya in its description 
of the yoga, the passage Maitr. 6. 19 urges the "keeping 
under of the individual soul called prdria in that which 
is called turyam^'; and in 7. 11 assigns the four states 
of the atman to the four feet of purusha (one of which is 
composed of all living beings, while three are immortal in 
heaven),* in such a way that waking, dreaming and deep 
sleep form the one foot, the turiya the three others : — 

He who is in the eye, he who is in the dream, 
lie who is in deep sleep, and he who is supreme, — 
These are his four varieties, 
Yet the greatest is the fourth. 

1 1. 12-16. * ?igv. X. 90. 3. 


A quarter of Brahman is in three, 
Three-quarters are in the last ; 
In order to taste truth and delusion 
The great self became twofold. 

From later passages on the turiya^ we propose to 
mention only the amplifications of Npisimhottarat&p. Up. 2. 
and 8, where the conception is further refined, and four 
degrees of turiyaalso are distinguished, viz. — ota,anujndtriy 
anujnd and avikaljya (pervading the universe, enlightening 
the mind, spirituality, indifference), of which the three 
first are still constantly afi^ected by " deep sleep, dreaming 
and sheer illusion," and only avikalpa, the entire oblite- 
ration of all distinction, purified from every taint of the 
world is, as tv/riya-turiya^ " the fourth of the fourth " 
pure, absolute thought. 

. ^ cp. Brahma Up. 2, Sarvopanishats. 8, Hamsa Up. 8. 



XIV. Transmigration of the Soul 

1. Philosophical Significance of the Doctrine of 

What becomes of men after death ? This question leads 
us to that doctrine which, if not the most significant in 
the Indian conception of the universe, is yet certainly the 
most original and influential, the doctrine of th e trans- 
m igration of the sou l, which from Upanishad times down 
to the present has held a foremost position in Indian 
thought, and exercises still the greatest practical influence.* 
Mankind, as S'ankara somewhere expresses it,^ is like a 
plant. Xike this it springs up, develops, and returns 
finally to the earth. Not entirely, however. But as the 
seed of the plant survives, so also at death the works of a 
man remain as a seed which, sown afresh in the realm of 

* In Jaipur I met in December 1892 an old Pandit almost naked, who 
approached me groping his way. They told me that he was completely 
blind. Not knowing that he had been blind from birth, I sympathised with 
him, and asked by what unfortunate accident the loss of sight had come upon 
him. Immediately and without showing any sign whatever of bitterness, 
the answer was ready to his lips : — henacid aparddheiva pArvoimin janmani 
kritena, " by some crime committed in a former birth." 

^ On BrahmasCitra 2. 1. 34, and frequently. 



ignoran ce, gives rise to a_5^w existence in exact correspon- 
dence with his character. Each life with all its actions 
and sufferings is on th e one hand the ineyitabte conse- 
quence of the actions of a former birth, and^gonditions 
ofTIE he other,, J iaiid by the action s -oemmitted^ia Jii_.tha_ 
next succe eding life . This conviction begets not only a 
real consolation in the sufferings of existence, which are 
universally seen to be self-inflicted, but S also a powerfa j 
incentive to habitual right cond ugt, and the instances 
from Indian epic and dramatic poetry are numerous in 
which a sufferer propounds the question, What crime 
must I have conmiitted in a former birth? and adds 
immediately the reflection, I will sin no m ore to bripg 
upon myself grievous suffering in a future existence. 

This conception, mythical as it is, nevertheless contains 
a germ of philosophical truth, which . it is yet difficult to 
draw out in detail. For, properly speaking, the entire 
question "What becomes of us after death?" is in- 
admissil)le, and if anyone could give us the full and 
correct answer we should be quite unable to understand 
it. For it would presuppose an intuition of things apart 
from space, time and causality, to which, as forms of 
perception, our knowledge is for ever limited. If we 
determine, however, to do violence to truth, and to con- 
ceive in terms of space that which is without space, the 
timeless in terms of time, the causeless £Cym the point 
of view of causality, then we may to the question, 
" What becomes of us after death ? " (which is as it 
stands incorrectly put, because it assumes the forms of 
time) give three answers, inasmuch as we have only the 
choice between (1) annihilation, (2) eternal retribution 
in heaven and hell, and (3) transmigration. The first 
supposition is in conflict not only with a man's self-love, 
but with the innate certainty more deeply rooted than all 
knowledge of our metaphysical being as subject to no 


birth or dissolution. The second supposition, which 
opens up the prospect of eternal reward or punishment 
for an existence so brief and liable to error, so exposed to 
all the accidents of upbringing and environment, is con- 
demned at once by the unparalleled disproportion in 
which cause and effect here stand to one another. And 
for the empirical solution of the problem (itself strictly 
speaking inadmissible) only the third supposition remains, 
that our ex istenc e is co ntinued after dejatlLm other. forms, 
other conditions of space and time, that it is therefore in 
a certain siense^a transmigration. The well-known argu- 
ment of Kant also, which bases immortality on the realisa- 
jtion of the moral law implanted in us, a result only 
attainable by an infinite process of approximation, tells 
not for immortality in the usual sense, but for trans- 

Although therefore the doctrine of the soul's migration 
is not absolute philosophical truth, it is nevertheless a 
myth which represents a truth for ever inconceivable for 
us, and is accordingly a valuable substitute for the latter. 
Could we abstract from it the mental framework of space, 
time and causality, we should have the complete truth. 
We should then discern that the unceasing return of the 
soul is realised not in the future and in other regions, but 
here already, and in the present, but that this " here " is 
everywhere, and this " present " is eternal. 

These views agree essentially with those of the later 
Ved&nta, which clings to belief in transmigration. This 
belief, however, is valid only for the exoteric apard 
vidyd; for the esoteric pard vidyd, the reality of the 
soul's migration falls to the ground with the reality of the 

We propose now to endeavour to trace the origin of 
this remarkable doctrine in the light of the Vedic texts. 
We must first, however, guard against a misunderstanding. 


When it is said occasionally of the fathers that they 
** move along, adopting the external form of birds " ; or 
when the soul of the Buddhist mother at death enters 
into a female jackal in order to warn her son on his 
journey of the unhealthy forest ; when the dead pass into 
an insect that buzzes round the last resting-place of the 
bones ; or when the fathers creep into the roots of plants ;^ 
these are popular representations, which are on a level 
with the entrance of the Vetdla into the corpse, or the 
yogin's animating of several bodies, but have nothing to 
do with belief in transmigration. They have as little 
to do with any such doctrine as the ancient Egyptian 
idea that the dead can return and assume any form at 
pleasure (which Herodotus in ii. 123 seems to interpret 
erroneously of the soul's migration), or the seven women 
in Goethe's poem, who appear by night as seven were- 
wolves. Superstitious ideas like these have existed 
amongst all peoples and at all times, but do not imply 
belief in transmigration, nor have they given rise to 
such teaching, least of all in India. Indeed, they have 
exercised scarcely any influence upon it ; since, as we 
shall show, the theory of transmigration rests on the con- 
viction of due recompense awarded to good and evil 
works, and this was at first conceived as future. Only 
later, for reasons which the texts disclose to us, was it 
transferred from an imaginary future into the present 
life. If therefore this recompense involves at times exist- 
ence as an animal or plant, this is merely an incidental 
consequence on which no stress is laid from first to last ; 
though it is true that this circumstance appeared to the 
opponents of the doctrine from the very beginning to be 
its especial characteristic, and has called forth their derision 
since the times of Xenophanes.* 

^ Oldenberg, Religion da Veda, pp. 563, 6S1 f. 
s Diog. L. a 36. 


2. Ancient Vedic Eschatohgy 

In no Vedic text earlier than the Upanishads can the 
doctrine of the sours transmigration be certainly traced, 
although the Upanishads themselves ascribe it even to 
the Rigveda. The artificial manner however in which 
this is done is in favour of the view that we have to do 
with a doctrine of recent origin, for which a confirmation 
was sought in the ancient sacred texts. Three passages 
have to be considered. 

In Brih. 1. 4. 10 it is said of Vdmadeva, the poet of 
Rigveda IV., that he (by virtue of a s'dstra-drishti^ an 
inspired conception, as B&dar&yana says,^ quoting this 
instance) recognised himself as Brahman ; and as a proof 
of his knowledge of Brahman alleged his acquaintance 
with his former births as Manu and Siirya : — " Knowing 
this, V&madeva the yishi began : * — 

I was once Mann, I was once the sun." 

More clearly in Ait. 2. 4 the authority of Vftmadeva 
is invoked in order to prove that a third birth after death 
follows on the first birth (as a child), and the second 
birth (by spiritual education) : — " After he has completed 
what he has to do, and has become old, he departs hence ; 
departing hence, he is once more bom ; this is his third 
birth. Therefore says the rishi : • — 

While yet tarrying in my mother's womb, 
I have learnt all the births of these gods ; -^ ' 
Had a hundred iron fortresses held me back, 
Yet like a hawk of swift flight I had escaped away. 

So Vamadeva spake though he still lay thus in his 
mothers womb." The quotation from the hymn of 
Vamadeva admits of interpretation here only if we under- 

^ I. 1. 30. « Rigv. IV. 26. 1. » » ]?igv. IV. 27. 1. 


stand by the hawk the soul, and by the iron fortresses 
the bodies through which it wanders.^ 

That neither quotation of Vamaveda has anything to 
do with the doctrine of the soul's transmigration, needs no 
I elaborate proof. In the first Indra glorifies his magical 
power, which enables him to assume all manner of forms.* 
In the second is depicted the cunning hawk of Indra 
already in his mother s womb, as he leaves his fortified 
dwelling-place, in order to fetch the soma from heaven ; 
or perhaps the wise soma itself relates how it, borne away 
by the hawk from its iron strongholds, " as a hawk " {i.e. 
carried by it) comes down to earth. 

At first sight the doctrine in question appears to be 
more closely related to a third quotation. In the great 
transmigration text it is said in a reference to the way of 
the gods : * — " And thou hast indeed failed to comprehend 
the word of the seer, who speaks thus : — 

Two ways, I heard, there are for men, 

The way of the fathers and the way of the gods ; 

On the latter everything meets 

That moves between father and mother." 

This translation is correct in the sense of the Upani- 
shad, but not in the sense of the original, which is found 
in Rigv. X. 83. 15 (overlooked by all former translators) 
in a hymn celebrating Agni in his twofold character as 
sun by day and fire by night. In view of this connection, 
it can hardly be doubtful that by the two ways that 
unite all that moves between earth and heaven day and 
night are to be understood, and thus the passage is to be 
rendered : — " I have heard from my forefathers that there 
are two ways alike for gods and men." They are all 
subject to the laws of day and night. 

1 cp. Brih. 2. 5. 18. 

* cp. Rigv. VI. 47. 18, Indro mdydbhif^ pururilpa* tycUe, 

» Brih. 6. 2. 2. 



The hymns of the Rigveda therefore know nothing yet 
of a migration of the soul, but teach for the good a con- ^ 
tinned existence with the gods under the control of Yama, , 
for the evil a journey only dimly indicated into the abyss. 
The standpoint of the Atharva hymns and of the -- 
Brahmanas is the same ; only that the conception of a 
recompense for works is carried out in detail. This re- 
compense however lies always solely in the future, and in 
the Upanishads for the first time is transferred into the 
present. A brief glance at the ancient Vedic eschatology 
will confirm this. 

Immortal life with the gods is represented in many 
hymns of the Rigveda, especially the older, as a 
peculiar gift of the grace of the gods, to confer which | 
Agni,^ the Maruts,* Mitra-Varuna,' Soma,* and other 1 
gods are entreated, and which is ofiered in particular 
to the generous worshipper.* Later on it is Yama, > 
the first man, who has found the way for many descend- ' 
ants to that glorious height, and who there sits enthroned 
as the gatherer together of men.* In order to attain to 
him, the soul must successfully pass by the two spotted 
four-eyed broad-nosed dogs of Yama,^ which apparently 
guard the entrance to the heavenly world and do not 
admit everyone. Here is probably to be found the first 
trace of a judgement of the dead, as it is put into practice 
by Yama in the late Indian eschatology. Elsewhere® 
to these dogs is assigned the office of wandering up and 
down amongst men, and dragging ofi* those appointed to 
die. According to X. 165. 4 the dove (Jkapotxi) is Yama's 
messenger of death. Mention is made also • of the fetters 
or the catch-net (padbisam) of Yama, so that for the 

1 1. 31. 7. « V. 55. 4. » V. 63. 2. * 1. 91. 1. 

' 2/a^ prindti sa ha devuhu gac'chati^ etc., I. 125. 6-6. 

^ sahgamano jandndm, X. 14. 1 f . 

' X. 14. 10. » X. 14. 12. • X. 97. 16. 



singers of the Rigveda he already represents also the 
terrors of death. Usually however in these older times 
Yama is conceived as the ruler in the kingdom of the 
blessed, as he sits enthroned afar,^ in the midst of heaven,* 
in the bosom of the ruddy morning,' in the highest 
heaven,* in eternal light/ There he sits, drinking with 
the gods, under a tree with fair foliage,® there the dead 
gather around him, in order to see Yama, or Varuna;^ 
they leave imperfection behind them, and return to 
their true home,® to the pasturage of which no one will 
again rob them,® where the weak is no longer subject to 
the strong,^^ where in immortal life in association with 
Yama they " delight themselves at the banquet" with the 
gods.^^ I Stress has frequently been laid on the sensuous 
character which is thus borne by the ancient Vedic pictures 
of the future life. But on this point it may be remarked 
that a conception of the joy of heaven on the analogy 
of that of earth is natural to man and inevitable (so far 
as he shrinks from an absolute denial of its existence); 
that even Jesus represents the kingdom of heaven as a 
festal gathering, where they sit down to table," and drink 
wine;^* and that even a Dante or a Milton could not 
choose but borrow all the colours for their pictures from 
this world of earth. In other respects great differences 
are shown in the ancient Vedic descriptions of the other 
world, varying indeed according to the individual 
character of the poet, — from the fancy of the poet of 
Atharvav 4. 34, that runs riot in a vulgar sensuality 
(who indeed already sufficiently reveals his disposition by 

1 1. 36. is. 2x. 15. 14. 'X. 15. 7. 

* Vaj. Samh. 18. 51, Atharvav. 18. 2. 48. 

* IX. 113. 7. « X. 135. 1. ' X. 14. 7. 

* /li^v^ya (k'mdyjam puTiar astam cAt, X. 10. 8. 

» X. 14. 2. 10 Atharvav. 3. 29. 3. 

^^ sadhamddam madantty Rigv. X. 14. 10, Atharvav. 18. 4. 10, etc 

" Matt. 8". 18 Matt. 26« 


the manner in which he praises his rice-pap and the 
gift of it to the BrS,hmans ; the whole might almost be 
regarded as a parody), to the more spiritual perception 
of the beautiful verses, Rigv. IX. 113. 7-11, of which we 
give a rendering with the omission of the refrain : — 

7. The kingdom of inexhaustible light, 
Whence is derived the radiance of the sun. 
To this kingdom transport me, 

Eternal, undying. 

8. There, where Yama sits enthroned as king, 
Among the holiest of the heavenly world. 
Where ever, living water streams. 

There suffer me to dwell immortal. 

9. Where we may wander undisturbed at will, 
Where the third loftiest heaven spreads its vault, 
Where are realms filled with light. 

There suffer me to dwell immortal. 

10. W^here is longing and the consummation of longing. 
Where the other side of the sun is seen. 

Where is refreshment and satiety, 
There suffer me to dwell immortal. 

11. Where bliss resides and felicity. 
Where joy beyond joy dwells. 
Where the craving of desire is stilled, 
There suffer me to dwell immortal. 

There also " the fathers " dwell in company with the 
gods, and like them are invoked to draw near and partake 
of the sacrifice. To the father as well as to the gods are 
ascribed the wonders of creation,^ the adornment of the 
sky with stars,* the bringing forth of the sun,* etc. They 
therefore stand generally on an equality with the gods, 
and though occasionally there is found as early as the 
Rigveda * an indication of a difierent abode of the fathers, 
no distinction of different degrees of blessedness, such as a 

1 Rigv. VIII. 48. 13. « X. 68. 11. 

3X. 107. 1. *X. 16. 1-2. 



later text assumes for the fathers, the unbegotten gods and 
the gods of creation/ is as yet recognised. 

Of the fate of the wicked obscure indications only are 
contained in the Rigveda. They are " predestined for that 
abyssmal place," * are hurled by Indra and Soma into the 
pit,* or into bottomless darkness,* into the grave,^ or into 
the outer darkness.* Perhaps also the expression should be 
quoted " the blind darkness " (andham tamos) frequently 
employed by the Upanishads,^ into which already, according 
to Rigv. X. 89. 15, 103. 12, the demons are to be plunged. 
They however do not understand by the "joyless regions 
veiled in blind darkness " into which the ignorant pass after 
death an imaginary hell, but this world in which we live. 

The eschatological views of the Rigveda meet us 
further developed in the hymns of the Atharvaveda 
and in the Br&hmanas. More exact accounts are "given 
of the fate of the good and the wicked. Verses such as 
Atharvav. 5. 19. 3, 13 remind us already of the later 
descriptions of hell : — 

Those who spit at Br&hmans, 
Or cast on them the mucus of the nose, 
They sit there in pools of blood, 
Chewing their hair for food. 

The tears that rolled down from his eyes. 

Bewailing himself, tormented, 

Which the gods quaff as their drink, 

Such are appointed for thee, torturer of Brahraans. 

In greater detail the Br&hmanas describe "the world 
of the pious" {sukritdmloka).^ These rise again in 

1 Brih. 4. 3. 33, Taitt. 2. S. 

' idam padam ajancUa gaJbhtram, Bigv. IV. 5. 5. 

• voifra, VII. 104. 3. * andrambhcmam tamas, tb. 

» karta, IX. 73. 8. « X. 162. 4. 

' Brih. 4. 4. 10 f., Is-a 3. 9. 12 ; cp. K&th. 1. 3. 

^ The expression occurs only once iu the Rigveda, X. 16. 4, but afterwards, 
characteristicaUy, becomes more and more common, Vdj. Satiih. 18. 62, 
Atharvav. 3. 28. 6, 9. 6. 1, 11. 1. 17, 18. 3. 71, etc. 


the other world, their body complete with all its limbs 
and joints {sa^^atanUy sarvdnga^ sarva/parus)} This 
new body is stronger, and in the other world in pro- 
portion to the faithfulness ,w ith which they have observed 
the rites of sacrifice, many of the pious need to take food 
once only in fourteen days, in four, six or twelve months, 
or a hundred years, or finally they are able altogether to 
dispense with it.* Thus they live in perpetual intercourse, 
in fellowship with the worlds and with living beings 
{sdyujyamy salokatd, sarApatd)^ with the gods, with 
Aditya,' with Agni, Varuna and Indra,* or even with the 
impersonal Brahman.*^ In S'atap. Br. 10. 5. 4. 15 indeed 
it is said already of the wise : — " He himself is free 
from desires, has gained all that he desires, no longer 
does desire (entice) him to anything. Concerning this 
is the verse : — 

By knowledge they climb upwards, 

Thither, where desire is quenched, ,. 

No sacrificial gift reaches thither, ^ 
Nor penance of the ignorant. 

For that world cannot be won by sacrificial gifts nor by 
asceticism by the man who does not know this ; for only 
to him who knows this does that state belong." Here 
already in place of works and asceticism knowledge makes 
its appearance, and in harmony with this emancipation 
instead of the glory of heaven. Transmigration therefore 
is not presupposed,® for there is no mention of trans- 
migration earlier than the Upanishads. Probably how- 
ever the germs of it are latent already in the Br&hmanas,- 
as we propose now to show. 

1 Atharvav. 11. 3. 32, S'atap. Br. 4. 6. 1. 1, 11. 1. 8. 6, 12. 8. 3. 31. 

* S'atap. Br. 10. 1. 6. 4. « Ait. Br. 3. 44, Taitt. Br. 3. 10. 9. 11. 

* S'atap. Br. 2. 6. 4. 8. • S'atap. Br. 11. 4. 4. 2. 
^ As Weber assumes, Zeiikhr. d. D. M, (?., ix. 139. 


3. The Germs of the Doctrine of Transmigration 

The chief aim of the BrS,hmanas is to prescribe the 
acts of ritual, and to offer for their accomplishment a 
manifold reward, and at the same time sufferings and 
punishment for their omission. While they defer rewards 
as well as punishments partly to the other world, in place 
of the ancient Vedic conception of an indiscriminate 
felicity of the pious, the idea of recompense is formulated, 
involving the necessity of setting before the departed 
different degrees of compensation in the other world pro- 
portionate to their knowledge and actions. Since how- 
ever the oldest form of punishment among all peoples in 
a natural state is revenge, this recompense also consists 
originally in the doing to us in the other world of the 
very same good and evil which we have done to anyone 
in this. This theory is realistically expressed in the 
words of S'atap. Br. 12. 9. 1. 1: — "For whatever food 
a man eats in this world, by the very same is he eaten 
again (praty-atti) in the other." A second proof is 
furnished by the narrative in S'atap. Br. 11. 6. 1 of the 
vision of the punishment in the other world which was per- 
mitted to Bhrigu ; and we may entirely assent to the view 
of Weber,^ who was the first to discuss this question, when 
he explains the liturgical interpretation of this vision as a 
subsequent addition of the Br&hman author. Removing 
this there is left as the kernel, that Bhrigu in the diflFerent 
regions sees men shrieking aloud, by whom other men 
shrieking are hewn in pieces limb by limb, chopped up 
and consumed with the words : — " Thus have they done 
to us in yonder world, and so we do to them again in 
this world." When the vision concludes with the black 
man with yellow eyes and the judge's staff in his hand, 
at whose side stand beautiful and ugly women (good and 

1 ZeUseh. d. D. M, 0., ix. 237 f. 


evil works), assuredly no doubt is left as to its original 

From the primitive doctrine of retribution, as this 
extract preserved accidentally in a later Brd^hmana text 
exhibits it, the idea of an equalising justice may have 
been developed by degrees, as it appears in S'atap. 
Br. 11. 2. 7-33/. — "For they lay it (the good and evil) 
on the scales in yonder world ; and whichever of the two 
sinks down, that will he follow, whether it be the good 
or the evil." Not all, according to a somewhat different 
view, find the way to the heavenly world : ^ — " Many a 
man may fail to find his place when he departs hence, 
but bewildered by the fire (at the corpse burning), and 
clouded by the smoke, he fails to find out his place." 
Others are kept at a distance from the world of the 
fathers for a longer or shorter time by their misdeeds : *— 
** Whosoever threatens (a Brahman) he shall atone for it 
with a hundred (years); he who lays violent hands on 
him with a thousand ; but he who sheds his blood shall 
not find the world of the fathers for as many years as 
the grains of dust number that are moistened by its 
streams. Therefore men should not threaten a Br&hman, 
or lay hands on him, or shed his blood, for there is 
involved in it so great an offence." Here the " world of 
the fathers" seems still, as in the Rigveda, to present 
itself before the mind as the highest goal. In course of 
time however a distinction arose between the way of the 
gods and the way of the fathers,* and similarly between 
the world of the gods as the abode of the blessed and 
the world of the fathers as the place of retribution. 
Precisely again as in the later doctrine of transmigration 
it is said that the entrance to the heavenly world lies in 
the north-east,* and the entrance to the world of the 

1 Taitt. Br. 3. 10. 11. 1. » Taitt. Samh. 2. 6. 10. 2. 

s Atharvav. 15. 12, etc. « S'atap. Br. 6. 6. 2. 4. 


fathers in the south-west,^ a distinction which is of all 
the more importance because it is found in two diflFerent 
passages, and is therefore not to be ascribed to an 
incidental process of systematising. Every man is born 
in the world fashioned by himself.* We hear of an 
"immortality" which lasts only a hundred years;* and 
that he who sacrifices to the gods " does not gain so great 
a world as he who sacrifices to the &tman." * In another 
text it is said that "day and night (time) consume in 
yonder world the worth (of good works) for him who does 
not know this";^ and Nac'iketas solicits as his second 
wish the imperishableness (akshiti) of good works/ 
With especial firequency do we meet with the fear that, in- 
1 stead of the hoped for immortality {amritatvam, the " not- 
dying-any-more-ness ") a renewed death {punarmrityUy 
death over again) may await man in the other world, 
and to avoid this all kinds of means are provided. " He 
who builds up or knows the Nac'iketas fire, he escapes 
renewed death." ^ "He who celebrates the day of the 
equinox, he overcomes hunger and renewed death." ® " He 
therefore who knows this escape firom death in the 
agnihotram is delivered from renewed death" ;• "The 
yajamdna, who builds up the fire, becomes the divinity 
of the fire, and vanquishes thereby renewed death." ^® 
"He who knows how hunger flees before food, thirst 
before drink, misfortune before happiness, darkness before 
light, death before immortality, before him all these flee, 
and he escapes renewed death." ^^ A like escape is his 
who builds up the fire in the appointed way,^ offers an 
appointed sacrifice,^* in the appointed way studies the 

1 S'atap. Br. 13. 8. 1. 6. « S'atap. Br. 6. 2. 2, 27. 

» S'atap. Br. 10. 1. 6. 4. * S'atap. Br, 11. 2. 6. 14. 

« Taitt. Br. 3. 10. 11. 2. « Taitt. Br. 3. 11. 8. 5. 

' Taitt. Br. 3. 11. 8. 6. « Kaush. Br. 25. 1. 

» S'atap. Br. 2. 3. 3. 9. " S'atap. Br. 10. 1. 4. 14. 

" S'atap. Br. 10. 2. 6. 19. " 10. 5. 1. 4. " 11. 4. 3. 20. 


Veda/ Thus "escape from renewed death" becomes j 
finally a stereotyped formula,* which is occasionally 
employed even where it seems to give no meaning.* We 
meet it even in the texts of the older Upanishads : — He 
escapes recurrent death who knows that death is his own 
self,* that sacrifices to the &tman avail,* that there is a 
water to quench the fire of death,* that the wind is the 
sum and substance of all.^ That this renewed death is 
to be understood of a repeated dying in the other world 
is taught especially by two passages : — " Accordingly he 
brings his fathers, who are mortal, to a condition of 
immortality, and causes them who are mortal to rise 
again from out of the condition of immortality; in 
truth, he who knows this averts renewed death from his 
fathers." ® " They then who know this or do this work 
rise again after death, and when they rise again they rise 
to immortality ; but they who do not know this or fail to 
do this work rise again after death, and become again and 
again its prey." • From the parallel which this passage 
draws between immortality and recurrent death it is clear 1 
that the latter also is not to be understood as trans- ( 
migration, but only of a resurrection and repeated death 
in the other world. It was only necessary however to^ 
transfer that renewed death from an imaginary future 
world into the present in order to arrive at the doc- 
trine of transmigration. This takes place first in the 
Upanishads, and the reasons that led to this last step 
will not evade us. Here it is only necessary to remark 
further that not all the Upanishad texts know or recognise 
a transmigration of souls, and when it is said in Brih. 
1. 5. 16, — "The world of men is to be gained only 
through a son, not at all by works ; by works the world 

1 S'atap. Br. 11. 6. 6. 9. « 10. 6. 1. 4 f. « 12. 9. 3. 11. 

* Brih. 1. 2. 7. « Brih. 1. 5. 2. « Bph. 3. 2. 10. 

' Brih. 3. 3. 2. 8 S'atap. Br. 12. 9. 3. 12. • S'atap. Br. 10. 4. 3. 10. 


of the fathers is gained, by knowledge the world of the 
gods," this text also knows nothing as yet of a trans- 
migration, unless it is to be considered as a protest 
against the new up-start dogma. Similarly parages like 
Brih. 1. 4. 15 (good works come at last to nought) and 
3. 8. 10 (sacrifice and asceticism win only finite reward) 
are still to be understood of an exhaustion of the value of 
works in the other world 

4. Origin of the Doctrine of Transmigration 

The chief text that sets forth the doctrine of 
transmigration, on which almost all subsequent texts are 
dependent, is found in a twofold recension for the most 
part in verbal agreement with one another. These 
^J^ passages are ChS-nd. 5. 3-10 and Brih. 6. 2} The Indian 
authorities call it the doctrine of the five fires (parlc'dg' 
nividyd). It is a combination of two different parts,* the 
doctrine of the five fires (in a narrower sense) ' and the 
doctrine of the two ways.* While reserving these two 
names for the two parts, we propose here and in the 
sequel to term the combination of the two briefly the 
chief text. 

It is remarkable in the first place that a text of such 
supreme importance for all that follows is found in Brih. 
6. 2 only in an^appgndix (khilakdndam), and not in the 
two chief divisions of this Upanishad, the madhukdndam * 
and the Ydjnavalkhyakdndam.^ When these two were 
collected, and later on combined with one another, it 
must surely have been still unknown ; for why otherwise 
should it have been passed over, when later on it gained 
the admission which its importance demanded ? This of 

1 cp. S'atap. Br. 14. 9. 1. 

* cp. Deussen, Upan.^ p. 137 f., where this has been already shown. 
• « Ch&nd. 6. 4. 1-5. 9. 2 = Brih. 6. 2. 9-6. 2. 14. 
'* Ch&nd. 6. 10 = Brih. 6. 2. 15-16. 

» Brih. 1-2. « Brih. 3-4. 


itself proves that the text is of late origin and a secondary 
product ; still more so do its contents. 

This so-called chief text teaches a double retribution," 
once by reward and punishment in the other world, and 
again by rebirth upon earth. This feature is evidently I 
primitive, and is nothing more than a combination of the! 
traditional future recompense found in the Veda with the 
novel recompense of the transmigration doctrine. We 
must therefore look for the original doctrine where it 
appears by itself alone and apart from combination with 
the ancient Vedic recompense in the other world. This 
leads us again to the YSjnavalkhya sections,^ in which we 
have already so often found the earliest form of Upanishad 
doctrine. In them we can still observe the origin of the 
doctrine of the soul's transmigration, together with the 
motives prompting it. According to a conception which 
is likewise already ancient Vedic, existing by the side of 
that usually current and hardly reconcilable with it, the 
eye of a man at death goes to the sun, his breath to the 
wind, his speech to the fire, his limbs to the different 
parts of the universe. With these thoughts already 
expressed in Rigv. X. 16. 3, and further expanded in 
Satap. Br. 10. 3. 3. 8, is connected the passage which we 
here quote in full, since it gives expression for the first 
time, as far as our knowledge goes, to the thought of the 
souFs transmigration, which it regards as a great mystery ; 
and at the same time it enables us to recognise the motive 
which led to this transference of the retribution from the 
future world to the present. 

" * Yajfiavalkhya,' so he (the son of RitabhAga) spake, 
' when after a man's death his speech enters into the fire, 
his breath into the wind, his eye into the sun, his manas 
into the moon, his ear into the pole, his body into the 
earth, his atman into the &k&s'a (space), the hair of his 

1 Brih. 3-4. 



body into herbs, the hair of his head into trees, his blood 
and seed into water,— where then does the man remain ? ' 
Y&jnavalkhya answered : — * Take my hand, Artabh&ga, 
my good friend ; on this matter we must come to an 
understanding alone by ourselves, not here in the 
company/ Then they two went aside, and conferred 
with one another ; and what they said that was work, 
and what they commended that was work. In truth, a 
man becomes good by good works, evil by evil works." ^ 

In the last words the motive which lies at the basis 
of the doctrine of transmigration is clearly expressed. It 
is the great moral difference of character, existing from 
birth, upon which the singers of the Rigveda had already 
pondered,* and which the philosopher explains in our 
passage on the hypothesis that a man has already existed 
once before his birth, and that his inborn character is the 
fruit and consequence of his previous action. 

Y&jnavalkhya expresses himself more clearly still in 
another well-known passage.'^ Here immediately after the 
departure of the soul from the body has been described it 
is said : — " Then his knowledge and works take him by 
the hand, and his former experience {pHrvaprajnd). As 
a caterpillar, after it has reached the tip of a leaf, makes a 
beginning upon another, and draws itself over towards it, 
so the soul also, after it has shaken off the body, and freed 
itself from ignorance {i.e. empirical existence), makes a 
beginning upon another, and draws itself over towards 
it. As the goldsmith takes the material from a piece of 
carving, and from it chisels out another newer, fairer 
form, so also this soul, after it has shaken off the body 
and rid itself of ignorance, fashions for itself another 
newer, fairer form, whether it be of the fathers or the 
Gandharvas, or the gods or Prajfl^pati, or Brahm&n or other 
living beings, ... in proportion as a man consists now of 

1 Bfih. 3. 2. 13. « 9igv. X. 117. 9. » Brih. 4. 4. 2-^ 


this or that, just as he acts, just as he behaves, so will he , 
be born. He who does good will be born good, he who \ 
does evil will be born evil;^ he becomes holy by holy j 
deeds, evil by evil. Therefore, in truth, it is said : ^ — ! 
'Man is altogether and throughout composed of desire 
(kdma) ; in proportion to his desire so is his discretion 
(kratu), in proportion to his discretion so he performs acts 
{karma)y in proportion to his acts so does it result to 
him.' On this subject is the verse : — 

To that he clingB, after that he strives with deeds, 
By which his inner man and his desire hold fast; 

He who has arrived at the final goal 

Of the deeds which he here commits, 

He returns from yonder world again 

Back to this world of work. 

This is the experience of those who feel desire 
( kdmayamdna ). " 

This passage does not yet recognise a twofold 
retribution, in a future world and again upon earth, " 
but only one by transmigration. Immediately after 
death the soul enters into a new body, in accordance — 
with its good or evil deeds. This is shown not only by 
the illustration of the caterpillar, which as soon as it has 
eaten up one leaf transfers itself to another, but also by the 
fact that the sphere of transmigration is extended through 
the worlds of men, fathers and gods up to Prajapati and 
the personal BrahmS^n, that consequently the worlds of 
the fathers and the gods cannot be set apart, as according 
to the later theory, for a recompens<eLby the side and inde- 
pendent of that by transmigration. . It would be otherwise 
if in the appended verse we were ooliged with S'ankara to 
understand prdpya antam as hhuktvd phalam : — " After 
that he has enjoyed (in the other world) the fruit of his 
deeds, he returns from that world to this world of action." 

1 cp. S'aUp. Br. 10. 6. 3. 1, ChlUid. 3. 14. 1. 


In that case the verse (which under any circumstances 
is a later addition) would be in contradiction with the pre- 
ceding words. It may however very well mean : — " After 
that he has finished with one life-course (like the cater- 
pillar with its leaf), he returns after death to a new life." 

The eschatology therefore of Y&jnavalkhya^ does not 
yet recognise a twofold retribution, in a future world and 
-/again by a new life, but as is natural, only one by a re- 
birth in the sphere of empirical reality (the worlds of men, 
fathers and gods). In place of the ancient Vedic recom- 
pense in the other world, there is found the recompense 
by transmigration. It is no longer said of the man who 
obtains deliverance, — "He escapes recurrent death," but 
" he does not return back again."* 

5. Further Development of the Doctrine of 

The ancient element in religious faiths is wont, as we 
have often had occasion to emphasise,'^ to assert its 
traditionally consecrated right side by side with concep- 
tions of later origin. Accordingly we see here also how by 
the side of the belief in a return to earth the ancient ideas 
of a recompense of good and evil in the other world 
persist, and become united with the doctrine of trans- 
migration, so that now all good and evil actions 
experience a twofold retribution, once in the other 
world and again by a renewed life upon earth. And 
thus that which has already received a full recompense is 
recompensed yet again, and strictly speaking the entire 
conception of a recompense is destroyed. This is the case 
in the chief text of the doctrine of transmigration.* We 

> Brih. 1-5. 

« Ciiftnd. 4. 15. 6, 8. 15, B|ih. 6. 2. 15, Pras-na 1. 10, etc 

* Allgemeine Einleitung, p. 180, supra p. 117. 

* Ch&nd. 6. 3-10= Brih. 6. 2. 


have however, as already remarked/ to distinguish two 
parts in this chief text, an older part,* which we propose 
to call the doctrine of the five fires (in a narrower sense), ) 
and a later ,^ to which we give the name of the doctrine \ 
of the two ways. Two of the questions proposed at the 
outset refer to the former, the three others to the latter. 
The difference of the two parts is clearly shown by the 
fact that according to the doctrine of the two ways, faith, 
s'raddhd, leads to Brahman without return, while accord- 
ing to the doctrine of the five fires it is this which above 
all constitutes the motive for the return to earth. 

The first and older part, the doctrine of the five fires, 
apparently assumes, like the expressions of Yftjnavalkhya 
that have been already quoted, the absence of recompense 
in the other world ; but depicts how the soul, after it has 
journeyed to heaven on the burning of the corpse "in 
radiant form," * returns thence immediately, as it seems, 
through the three regions of the universe, heaven atmo- 
sphere and earth, and through the bodies of father and 
mother, these being the five transit stations, to a new 
existence. This is the reply to the question proposed at 
the beginning : — " Do you know how at the fifth sacrifice 
the waters come to speak with human voice ? " ^ Just as 
with Yajnavalkhya the doctrine of transmigration makes 
its appearance as a great mystery,® so here also it comes 
before us veiled in secrecy as something new, not to be 
profaned. And just as to the Christians, who bury the 
body, the comparison of it to a seed buried in the earth 
suggested itself,^ so in India, where the corpse is burnt, 
it is natural to conceive of this burning as a sacrifice. As 
the libation poured into the fire (soma, milk, etc.) ascends 

^ cp. Deussen, Upan.y p. 137, where a fuller discussion of this point will 
be found. 

2 Chand. 5. 4-9 (Brih. 6. 2. 9-14). « Ch&nd, 6. 10 (Bph. 6. 2. 15). 

* Brih. 6. 2. 14. « Ch&nd. 6. 3. 3, Brih. 6. 2. 2. 

« Brih. 3. 2. 13, tup. p. 329 f. ' 1 Cor. 16. 


in spiritual form to the gods, so the immortal part of man 
\ ascends to heaven from the funeral pyre. This immortal 
j part is termed by Yajnavalkhya karman, work/ and in 
'> our passage is described after the analogy of the sacrificial 
fluid as " water," and later on as " faith." These mysti- 
cally veiled expressions cause the Vedanta theologians 
much trouble.* They signify however essentially the 
same, inasmuch as the peculiar essence and so to speak the 
1 soul of the work (karman) that ascends as the sacrificial 
vapour (dpas) is the faith (sraddhd) with which it is 
offered. This "work," in YSjfiavalkhya's phrase, this 
** faith," as our passage describes it, probably not inde- 
pendently of him, ascends to heaven as the immortal part 
of man, and is there five times in succession offered up by 
the gods in the sacrificial fires of the heaven, the atmo- 
sphere, the earth, the man, and the woman. By this 
means it is changed successively from faith to soma, from 
soma to rain, from rain to food, from food to seed, and 
from seed to the embryo; thus it is led to a renewed 
existence on earth. 

The second half of the chief text, which we propose 
to call the doctrine of the two ways, marks a consider- 
able further advance, and combining the ancient Vedic 
, eschatology with the doctrine of transmigration, teaches a 
twofold recompense (a recompense therefore of that which 
has been already recompensed), on the one hand in the 
other world, and once again by a return to earth. To 
this end it represents the souls of the dead as ascending 
by two different ways, the Devaydna (way of the gods) 
and the Pitriydna (way of the fathers). These lead 
through several stations, that at times appear strange but 
which yet admit of explanation, if we take into con- 
sideration the origin of the doctrine. As early as the 
Rigveda and the Br&hmanas mention is frequently made 

1 iup, p. 330. ' cp. Syst. cL VeddrUa, pp. 401, 406. 


of the Devaydna, which was originally in all probability 
the way by which Agni bore the sacrificial gifts to the/ 
gods, or the latter descended to them. It was then also 
the way by which the pious dead ascended to the gods, 
in order to live in eternal felicity with them, or, as later 
times preferred to express it, with Brahman. A more 
detailed description of the way of the gods is given in 
Chand. 4. 15. 5. On the burning of the corpse the soul/ 
enters into the flame, thence into the day, thence into the 
bright half of the month, thence into the bright half of the | 
year (the summer season), thence into the year, thence 
into the sun, thence into the moon, thence into the 
lightning, and so finally into Brahman. The use of 
periods of time here as divisions of space occurs elsewhere 
also,^ and needs in India no further remark. The 
meaning of the whole is that the soul on the way of the 
gods reaches regions of ever-increasing light, in which is 
concentrated all that is bright and radiant, as stations on 
the way to Brahman, who is himself the " light of lights " 
(Jyotishdm jyotis). 

The Pitriydna or way of the fathers was next explained , 
after the analogy of this Devaydna. As everything that 
was bright and radiant was directed to the latter, so to 
the former the counterpart of darkness and gloom. The 
difficulty however arose here that it was impossible to 
omit the moon from the Pitriydna^ and that this already 
belonged to the Devaydna. For, according to an old 
somewhat obscure conception, the moon was the abode of 
the departed,* and thus later on ' its waxing and waning 
were brought into connection with the ascent and descent 
of the souls. Maintaining therefore the moon as the final 
goal, the Pitriydna was explained in other respects in 
analogy with the Devaydna, the soul entering into the 

1 S'atap. Br. 1. 3. 6. 11, Chand. 2. 10. 5. « Kaush. 2. 8. 

» Brih. 6. 2. 16, Kaush. 1. 2, but not Kaush. 2. 9. 


smoke not the flame, the night not the day, the dark half 
of the month not the bright, the months of winter not of 
summer, the world of the fathers not the year, the ftkas'a ^ not 
the sun, and finally as in the Devayana into the moon, not 
however as a transit station, but in order to remain there 
" as long as a remnant (of good works) yet exists.* Our 
text skilfully evades giving a description of the transitory 
blessedness in the moon. In its place the ancient idea of 
the soma cup of the gods makes its appearance, which, 
after they have drained it, is each time refilled.'^ As far as 
this repletion is possible by means of the souls,* the latter 
are enjoyed by the gods ; and this is again interpreted in 
the later VedS-nta of a mutual enjoyment of the gods and 
the pious, diead in intercourse with one another. The 
felicity in the moon lasts ydvat sampdtam " as long as 
a remnant exists."* In this it is implied that the retri- 
bution there is complete. Nevertheless there follows a 
second recompense upon earth. The descent is here not, 
as in the doctrine of the five fires, a passing through the 
five sacrificial fires as faith, soma, rain, food and seed, but a 
progressive materialisation of the substance of the souls 
into ether, wind, smoke, mist, cloud, rain, herbage, food and 
seed, to which succeeds the entrance into the womb of a 
new mother and the renewed birth. \^y the side of the 
way of the gods, which for the wise and faithful leads to 
an entrance into Brahman without return, and the way of 
the fathers, which in requital for sacrifice, works of piety, 
and asceticism guides to the moon and thence back to 
earth, our text originally but only obscurely pointed to the 
" third place " as the fate of the wicked, who are bom 

again as lower animals. 7 


1 Only in the Ch&nd. > Chfind. 6. 10. 5. 

* cp. Rigv. X. 86. 6 : — " when they drain thee, gcxi, thou dost thereupon 
well up again." 

* Kaush. 2. 8, 1. 2. » Ch&nd. 5. 10. 5. 


The additions which are wanting in Brih. 6. 2. 16, 
and inserted in CMnd, 5. 10. 7 alone, take us a step 
further in the development of these ideas. In contrast 
with the original text of the doctrine of the two 
ways, a distinction is here drawn among the souls 
returning fix)m the moon between those of "pleasing 
conduct" and those of "abominable conduct." The 
former are bom again as Brahmans, Kshatriyas or 
Vaisyas, the latter as dogs, pigs or c'andftlas. By this 
means the " third place" by the side of the ways of 
the gods and the fathers becomes now superfluous, and 
ought entirely to disappear, but is nevertheless allowed 
to remain. 

This contradiction, like the above-mentioned incon- 
gruity involved in the position of the moon on the ways 
both of the gods and the fathers, seems to have been early 
noticed. Kaush. 1. 2 is to be regarded as an attempt to 
relieve both these disadvantages. Here it is emphatically 
declared, with the view of obviating the necessity for 
the " third place," that " all who depart from this world 
go without exception to the moon." There however their 
knowledge is put to the test, and according to the result 
they go either by the Devaydna ^ which leads to Brahman 
without return, or (the name Pitriydna is not used) they 
enter upon a new birth. " whether as a worm or a fly or a 
fish or a bird or a lion or a boar or a serpent or a tiger or 
a man, or as something else." This enumeration seems to 
be an imitation of that found in Ch&nd. 6. 9. 3, 6. 10. 2 ; 
for there it was justified by the context, while here it 
appears somewhat superfluous. 

Of later passages, which all to a greater or less 
extent depend upon that already discussed, we propose 
in conclusion to cite only the most important. In 
Kdth. 2. 10 the transitoriness of the treasure of 

1 Kaush. 1. 3. 



good works ^ is taught. In reference to the return it is 
further said : * — 

One goes into the womb of a mother, 

Becoming incarnate in bodily form; 

Another enters into a plant, 

Each according to his deeds, according to his knowledge. 

Mund. 1. 2. 10 exhibits more evidently its dependence 
on Ch&nd. 5. 3-10 : — 

Having tasted joy on the summit of the heaven of works. 
They return back into this world, and even lower. 

In a later passage also reference is made to the five 
fires of the Paflcdgnividyd : ' — 

From it originates the fire, whose fuel the sun is,* 
From the soma the rain springs,^ plants from the earth, 
The husband pours out the stream upon the wife,* 
Many descendants are bom to the spirit. 

The ways of the fathers and of the gods are described 
in Prasna 1. 9-10 on the basis of Chand. 5. 10 (mis- 
understanding however the expression " sraddhd tapa! " 
iti of Ch&nd. 5. 10. 1). For confirmation reference is 
made to the verse Rigv. I. 164. 12, which nevertheless has 
nothing to do with the subject. 

XV. Emancipation 

1. Significance of the Doctrine of Emancipation 

Love of life is the strongest of all the instincts 
implanted in human nature. In order to preserve life 
we make any sacrifice. We desire a long life for ourselves 
and our firiends; we congratulate those who attain it, 

1 vtmdhi, as in Taitt. Br. 3. 10. 11. 2. * K&th. 5. 7. 

» Mu^d. 2. 1. 5 ; cp. Ch&nd. 5. 4 f . * Ch&nd. 5. 4. 1. 

'^ Ch&nd. 6. 6. 2. • (Mnd. 6. 8. 2. 


and commiserate those who are called away before their 
time. And the reason of our mourning for one so 
prematurely deceased is (when once we give to ourselves 
a clear account of it) not so much that he is wanting to 
us, as rather that we are wanting to him. We pity him 
because he has been so early deprived of existence, as 
though this were a supreme good. When we console 
ourselves over the death of a relative by recalling, the 
sufferings, perils and hardships, from which he has escaped, 
this is the voice of reflection. A purely natural feeling 
expresses itself differently. It tells us that the loss of life 
is the most serious by which a man can be overtaken; 
that the most severe punishment is always that of death. 
Indeed, so strong in us is the instinct ifor life, that our 
whole existence is nothing more than this desire unfolding 
itself in space as the body and in time as the life. 

How is it possible under these circumstances that in 
the course of development there could arise repeatedly 
amongst men and become established a disposition to 
regard that craving for life, upon which our entire 
empirical existence depends, as something which ought 
not properly to be ? So that man's true duty is conceived 
to be not the satisfaction of the natural craving, but its 
suppression, and therefore the highest goal appears as 
a release (moksha), and that not such a release as death 
brings from a definite existence, but release from existence 
in general, which as our innate consciousness shows is not 
to be attained simply through death. 

This rarest of all changes of inclination may be traced 
nowhere more clearly than in India, where deliverance, 
unmodified by the play upon it of the accidental events 
of history, appears not as a ransom, an atonement, a 
propitiation, etc., but merely as a release from empirical 
existence with all its desires, these last being regarded 
as fetters {bandha, graha), as bonds (granthi), which 


bind the soul to the objects of sense. Even in India it 
was not always so, and a long period of development, a 
vast interval, separates the poets of the Rigveda, who, 
filled with a warm desire for life, shrink from death ,^ and 
wish for themselves and their posterity a life of a hundred 
years, from the words with which the greatest Indian poet 
closes his masterpiece : — 

May he, the god, who fashioned me by his almighty power, 
Himself avert from me and destroy my re-birth. 

Yet the philosophy of the future will often turn its 
glance to India in order to study the doctrine of 
emancipation in the land of its birth. We propose now 
to do what we can to render inteUigible this most 
remarkable of all doctrines. 

2. Origin of the Doctrine of Emancipation 

Albrecht Weber in one of his very remarkable exposi- 
tions * gave utterance to the conjecture that the doctrine 
of emancipation is necessitated by the dogma of trans- 
migration. The idea that for the deeds of this brief life 
either eternal reward or eternal punishment must follow 
in the other world would have jarred upon the gentle 
disposition and thoughtful mind of the Indian. From 
this dilemma he tried to save himself by the dogma of 
transmigration. In reality however he only became 
deeper entangled, since on the eternal retribution a parte 
post is imposed yet another a parte ante. He therefore 
eventually saved himself by "cutting the knot," by 
representing the destruction of the entire individual 
existence as efiected in emancipation ; so that now that 
which in the olden time was reckoned as the severest 
punishment appears as the supreme reward of all en- 
deavour. Apart however from the fact that the eman- 

1 Pigv. VII. 89. « ZeiUckr. d. D. M, (?., ix. 239. 


cipation of pre-Buddhistic times was from beginning to 
end no annihilation, but rather the precise opposite, a 
transcending of that which was in itself worthless, this 
ingenious explanation fails to harmonise with the course 
of historical development, for the additional reason that, 
as we shall see, the doctrine of emancipation is older 
than that of transmigration, and cannot therefore be a 
consequence of the latter. ' 

The attempt has often been made to understand man's 
lonirinff for deliverance from another side as the result of 
the heavy pressure upon the Indian people of the 
Brahmanical system. Thereby, according to the view 
suggested, the ancient delight in existence had been 
ruined and lost in consequence of the subservience of the 
mind to the Brahmans, and the body to the Kshatriyas. 
But not to mention that the conditions of life in the rich 
valley of the Ganges were in all probability hardly worse 
than formerly in the PanjS,b, and that the idea of eman- 
cipation had certainly arisen not in the circle of the 
oppressed but rather in that of the oppressors, a disposi- 
tion to pessimism, such as the theory assumes, was not at 
all peculiar to the times in which the doctrine of eman- 
cipation arose. ^ It is true that by emancipation suffering 
also with all its possibilities was removed ; but Buddhism 
was the first to transform that which was a mere con- 
sequence into a motive, and by conceiving emancipation 
as an escape from the sufferings of existence, to make 
selfislmess the ultimate mainspring of existence, — even 
if not to the extent that was done later by Islam, which 
is never weary of depicting to the people the glories of 
heaven and the terrors of hell. 

The doctrine in question cannot be derived from these 
or any other motives that have their seat in the will, for 
the very reason that it is the al^rogation of all desire 

^ tup, pp. 140 f., 254 f. 


{yatra kdmdh pardgatdh)^ and that certainly as early 
as its very first appearance. Accordingly it remains to 
seek for its original motive in the sphere of the intellect ; 
and here we shall find the doctrine of emancipation to 

; be so entirely the necessary consequence and final con- 
summation of the doctrine of the atman, that it is to be 
regarded only as a personal and so to speak practical 
application of the Upanishad view of the universe as a 
whole, which we have hitherto been engaged in ex- 
pounding. This we now propose to show. 

It is a natural idea that finds expression in all the 

I systems of philosophy, when men regard that which for 
them is the first principle of things and the ultimate basis 
of the universe as at the same time the highest aim of 
personal endeavour. In olden times this was the gods, 
and thus union with the gods after death was the supreme 
wish of the ancient Vedic rishis, in order to attain to 
fellowship (sdyujyam), companionship (salokatd), com- 
munity of being (sarHpatd) with Agni, Varuna, Indra, 
Aditya, etc. Later on the (impersonal) Brahman was 
exalted above the gods. This then became the final 
goal ; and the gods were only the doors, through whom 
Brahman might be attained. " By Agni as the door of 
Brahman he enters in. When by Agni as the door of 
Brahman he enters in, he gains fellowship (sdyujyam), 
and companionship (salohatd) with Brahman."^ In the 

^ final step the creative principle of the universe was 
conceived to be the &tman, the self, and as was to be 
expected union with the fitman became now the aim of 
all endeavour and longing. This took place before 
anything was yet known of transmigration, but only of 
a renewed death in the other world, as the following 
passages prove. " Only he who knows him (the purusha) 
escapes from the kingdom of death ; by no other road 

1 S'atap. Br. 11. 4. 4. 1. 


is it possible to go " ; ^ " He who knows him, the wise 
long-emancipated youthful &tman, no more fears death " ; * 
" The self (dtman) is his pathfinder, he who finds him 
is no longer stained by action, that evil thing." * The last 
expression in particular shows that here the thought of 
emancipation is already present in all its entirety. So 
also in the following passage, which has been already 
quoted above for another purpose : — " Himself (the atman) 
is free from desire, in possession of all that he desires, 
no desire for anything whatever (tempts) him. With 
reference to this is the following verse : — 

By knowledge they climb upwards 
Thither, where desire is at rest; 
Neither sacrificial gift reaches thither, 
Nor the penance of the ignorant 

For yonder world cannot be attained by sacrificial gifts 
or by asceticism by the man who does not know this. 
For that state belongs only to him who has this know- 
ledge."* The rejection of work and asceticism, the 
emphasising of knowledge, and the suppression of all 
desire, are proofs that this passage has in view emancipa- 
tion as a union with the &tman. But this union is still 
represented in harmony with traditional ideas as an ascent 
to heavenly regions, — as though the &tman were to be 
sought elsewhere than in ourselves. Thus a few pages 
further on in the passage S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 3, already 
translated above,* which teaches that destiny in the other 
world is determined by the degree of insight (kratu) 
which men have attained here below ; and which then as 
the deepest insight imparts the knowledge of the &tman, 
who, filling all space and pervading all the universe, is 
greater than heaven and earth, and yet smaller than a 

1 Vaj. Samh. 31. 18. « Athar>'av. 10. 8. 44. 

« Taitt. Br. 3. 12. 9. 8. * S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 4. 15. 

* Allgemeine Einleitung «. Philosophic des Veda^ p. 264. 


grain of rice or millet, dwells in the inner self. In 
conclusion it is said : — " He is my soul (dtman) ; thither 
to this soul on my departure hence shall I enter in."^ 
Who does not feel the inner contradiction of these words, 
and that if the fi-tman is really my soul, no further .entrance 
< into it is needed ! 

A slight barrier only remained to be thrown down in 
order to see that that which is ever being sought at an 
infinite distance is nearer to us than anything else, and 
that the emancipation desired as union with God, union 
with Brahman, union with the atman, does not require 
to be attained for the first time in the future after death, 
but is actually attained already here and now and from the 
very beginning, — by him " who knows this." 

It is Yfijnavalkhya of the Brihad&ranyaka who meets 
us again as the man who drew this final consequence of 
the doctrine of the fitman. 

3. The Knowledge of the Atman is Emancipation 

Emancipation is not to be regarded as a becoming 
something which previously had no existence. In the 
first place, because in the sphere of metaphysical phenomena 
to which emancipation belongs there is in general no 
becoming but only a being (as all metaphysical thinkers, 
not only in India but in the West also, from Parmenides 
and Plato down to Kant and Schopenhauer, have recog- 
nised). The law of causation rules without exception 
everything that is finite, but nothing that lies outside and 
beyond, or like emancipation leads beyond. But for a 
further reason also emancipation cannot be a coming into 
being of that which did not previously exist, since it could 
, not then be summum honum. For everything that comes 
to be is transient ; that which from nothingness became 
something may also return back from being something 
1 S'atap. Br. 10. a 3. 


into its nothingness. What the wave threw up it may 
sweep away again ; to firjSev ek oiSep pcTrei, 

If deliverance had a beginning, 
Then it could not but have an end, 

as GaudapS,da rightly says/ nor could it be summum 
honum, or id quo majus cogitari nequit, for we might 
always think of as a higher good an (emancipation which 
had not come into being, and therefore was not exposed to 
the danger of vanishing away. 

Emancipation therefore (which we must not judge by 
our one-sided Western ideas which have been shaped from 
historical and therefore narrow conditions) is not properly;, 
a new beginning, a Kaivij /criat^, but only the perception of 
that which has existed from eternity, but has hitherto 
been concealed from us : — 

AH souls are originally 

Free from darkness and ¥rithoat stain, 

''Already awakened and delivered before the world was, 

They rise up," saith the Master.* 

We are all emancipated already (how could we other- 
wise become so !), " but just as he who does not know the 
place of a hidden treasure fails to find it, though he passes 
over it constantly, so all these creatures fail to find the 
world of Brahman, though they daily (in deep sleep) enter 
into it ; for by unreality are they turned aside.* This 
unreality is removed by the knowledge ** I am Brahman," 
am in truth not an individual, but the &tman, the sum and ' 
substance of all reality, the first principle which creates, 
upholds and preserves all worlds. " And therefore to-day 
also he who knows this ' I am Brahman ' becomes this 
universe ; and even the gods have no power to prevent 
liis so becoming; for he is its soul (dfman)"^ This 

1 KknU 4. 30. » Gaudap. 4. 98. 

» Ch&nd. 8. 3. 2. *Brih. 1. 4. 10. 


thought is briefly and strikingly expressed in Mund. 3. 2. 
9 : — " In truth, he who knows that supreme &tman, he 
becomes Brahman," or more correctly *'he is already 
Brahman" {sa yo ha vai tat paramam hrahma veda 
hrahma eva bhavati). For deliverance is not effected 
by the knowledge of the fitman, but it consists in this 
knowledge ; it is not a consequence of the knowledge of 
the atman, but this knowledge is itself already deliverance 
in all its fulness. He who knows himself as the &tman, the 
first principle of things, he is by that very knowledge free 
from all desires (akdmayamdna), for he knows everything 
in himself, and there is nothing outside of himself for him 
to continue to desire : — dptahdmasya kd sprihd f " what 
can he desire who has everything ? " ^ And further, he 
who knows himself as the &tman "is not inflamed by 
what he has done and left undone," whether it be good or 
evil,* his works consume away like the reed-stalk in the 
fire,* and future works do not cling to him, as water does 
not remain on the leaf of the lotus flower.* His indi- 
viduality, the basis of all works, he has seen to be an 
illusion, in that he has gained possession of the knowledge 
of the atman, and therein of emancipation : — 

He who beholds that Loftiest and Deepest, 
For him the fetters of the heart break asunder, 
For him all doubts are solved, 
And his works become nothingness.^ 

The Knowledge op the Atman does not effect 
Emancipation, it is Emancipation. — If we seek for 
the origin of this thought that runs through the whole 
of the Upanishad literature, we are referred back to the 

1 Qaudap. 1. 9. 

« Brih. 4. 4. 22, Ch&nd. 8. 4. 1, 8. 13, Mu^d. 3. 1. 3, Taitt. 2. 9, Kaush 1. 
4, 3. 1, Mu^d. 3. 2. 9, Maitr. 2. 7, 6. 34, etc 

« Chand. 5. 24. 3 ; cp. Brih. 5. 14. 8. * Ch&nd. 4. 14. 3. 

* Mu;^4. 2. 2. 8. 


discourses of Y&jnavalkhya that are presented in Brih. 3 
and 4.' 

We begin with Brih, 4. 2. Yajnavalkhya addresses 
King Janaka, whom we are to consider as occupying the 
foremost position among the sages of his time (somewhat 
as Narada in Ch&nd. 7. 1): — "Since then you are now 
rich in attendants and goods, hast studied the Veda and 
hast listened to the mystical doctrine (art adhttaveda 
and ukta-upanishatka), tell me, whither will you go when 
once you depart hence ? " "I do not know, reverend sir, 
whither I shall go" (he does not know, in spite of 
devaydna and devaloka, of which assuredly mention was 
made in his Vedas and Upanishads ; the king seems no 
longer to place absolute confidence in their revelations). 
Y&jnavalkhya rejoins : — " Then will I declare to you 
whither you will go." "Declare it, reverend sir." What 
are we to expect to hear ? Something at any rate which 
could not be more forcibly indicated than by this intro- 
duction as absolutely new at that period. 

To begin with, YSjnavalkhya describes the individual 
atman, how it dwells in the heart, Indra and VirS,j like as 
it were its feelers reach to the two eyes, and together 
with them are nourished by the blood-clots of the 
heart. Suddenly while he is speaking in so gross and 
materialistic a fashion of the individual &tman, a mist as 
it were is removed from our eyes : — " The anterior (eastern) 
regions of the heavens are his anterior organs, the right- 
hand (southern) regions of the heavens are his right-hand 
organs," etc., " all the regions of the heavens are all his 
organs. He however, the atman, is not so, not so. He is 
inapprehensible, for he is not apprehended, indestructible, 
for he is not destroyed, unattachable, for nothing attaches 
itself to him ; he is not fettered, he stirs not, he suffers 

^ It is from the circle of his thought that the iiords of B^-ih. 1. 4. 10 also, 
already quoted above p. 346, are derived ; cp. Brih. 1. 4. 3. 


no harm. Janaka, you have attained peace. Thus 
Yajnavalkhya spake." 

The last expression leaves no doubt on the point that 

herein the intention is to impart the highest instruction, 

in which we are to seek for the answer to the initial 

^? rjuestion, "Whither will you go when once you depart 

c^ .hence?" And the answer asserts that the soul after 

^ ■ death goes nowhere where it has not been from the 

^-^ i very beginning, nor does it become other than that 

^: which it has always been, the one eternal omni- 

^" present atman. 

The doubts which in view of the abrupt form of the 
paragraph might be felt as to the correctness of this 
interpretation, are completely removed by the unmistake- 
able teaching which Ydjnavalkhya imparts to Janaka in 
I Brih. 4. 3-4. After that return to a new existence upon 
I earth has been taught here as the fate of the IcaTnaya- 
\mdnay " consumed by desire " (one who therefore does not 
yet know himself as the &tman), there follow words than 
which deeper, truer, more noble were never uttered by 
human lips : — 

" Now concerning the man free from desire {akdmaya- 
mdna). He who without desire, free from desire, desire 
being laid to rest, is himself his own desire, his vital 
spirits do not withdraw, but he is Brahman, and ascends 
to Brahman. On this subject is the following verse : — 

When every passion vanishes 
That finds a home in the human heart, 
Then he who is mortal becomes immortal. 
Here already he has attained to Brahman. 

As the skin of a snake lies cast oflf and dead upon an 
antheap, so this body then lies. But the bodiless, the 
immortal, the life is pure Brahman, is pure light." ^ 

We propose in the first place to use these passages to 

1 Brih. 4. 4. 6-7. 


throw light upon certain other expressions of Yfijnavalkhya 
which in themselves are obscure. 

" * Yajnavalkhya,' thus he spake, * when a man dies, 
do the vital spirits wander forth from him or not V 'By 
no means,' said Yajnavalkhya, * but they remain gathered 
together at the very same place; his body swells up, 
becomes inflated, and he lies there dead and inflated."^ 
In this passage, as has been already remarked,* no restric- 
tion to those who are already emancipated is implied, since 
inflation by the expanding gases may be observed in every 
body without distinction. Yet we are compelled, as seems 
to have been done already by the M&dhyandinas, to 
interpret the words only of the emancipated, if we would 
not set ourselves in irreconcilable contradiction with the 
words of Y&jnavalkhya elsewhere : — " When the life 
departs, all the vital organs depart with it."* 

Still more obscure is the following : — " * YS,jfiavalkhya,' 
thus he spake, * when a man dies, what is it that then does 
not leave him ? ' * The name,' he answered, * for the name 
is infinite, infinite are the vis've devdh, and he gains with 
it the infinite world.' " * Here we are compelled to under- 
stand by the name the infinite ** objective world," as 
has been already shown.* As long as this continues to 
subsist, the knowing subject also that sustains it preserves 
its existence. 

It is in harmony with this explanation that Yajna- 
valkhya asserts in Brih. 2. 4. 12,* in answer to Maitreyi : 
— " After death there is no consciousness " ; and explains 
this by saying that the imperishable indestructible ^tman 
(avinds'in, anuc'c'hittidharman') has after death no further 
consciousness of objects, because as knowing subject he 
has everything in himself, nothing outside of himself, con- 

1 Bj-ih. 3. 2. 11. « See Deufisen, Ujpan,, p. 431. 

« Brih. 4. 4. 2. * Brih. 3. 2. 12. » Deusaen, C/pan., p. 431. 

• =4. 5. 13. '4. 6. 14. 


sequently " has no longer any contact with matter " (mdtrd- 
asamsargas tu asya hhavati)} 

The mystical declaration also of Brih. 3. 2. 10 con- 
cerning the water (of knowledge), which is able to quench 
the fire of death, is thus satisfactorily explained. 

YSjflavalkhya has therefore entirely anticipated 
[Schopenhauer's definition of immortality as an *'inde- 
; structibility without continued existence."* Just as for 
I the wise there is no longer any reality in the universe or 
j in transmigration, so immortality also as prolonged exist- 
; ence after death is a part of the great illusion, the hoUow- 
' ness of which he has proved. 

From the numerous passages in the later Upanishads, 
which in a similar way to the speeches of Yajnavalkhya 
hitherto discussed celebrate the knowledge of the &tman 
as emancipation, a few may here be set down. 

'*Yet he who has in thought conceived himself as the Self, 
How can he still wish to bind himself to the ills of the body! 
Him who in the profound defilement of the body 
Has awakened to a knowledge of the Self, 
Him know as almighty, as the worlds' creator ! 
The universe is his, for he himself is the universe. 

The man who has beheld God 

As his own self face to face ; 

The Lord of that which was and is to be, 

He feels no fear nor hides himself in dread. 

At whose feet rolling on by days and years time advances, 

Whom the gods adore as light of lights, as immortality, 

On whom depends the fivefold host of living beings, together with space. 

Him know I as my soul, immortal the immortal.* 

The seer sees not death. 
Nor sickness nor fatigue ; 
The AU alone the Seer sees. 
The All he everywhere pervades.* 

^ 5. 4. 14 MMhy.; cp. Deussen, Upan., p. 485 rem. 

' Elements of Meta^hysiUy § 249. 

« Brih. 4. 4. ia-13, 16-17. * Ch&nd. 7. 26. 2. 


He before whom words recoil 
And thought, failing to find him, 
Who knows this bliss of Brahman, 
He no longer fears aught.^ 

Only he who knows it not knows it, 
He who knows it knows it not. 
Unknown by the wise, 
Known by the ignorant 

In whom it wakes to life, 
He knows it and finds immortality ; 
Because he is it, manhood is his, 
Because he knows it, immortality.' 

The one Lord and inner self of all living beings. 
He his one form expands in many ways. 
He who, the wise, sees himself dwelling in himself 
He alone, and no other, is eternally blessed. 

Not by speech, not by thought. 

Not by sight do we apprehend him ; 

" He is I " By this word is he apprehended. 

And not in any other way. 

"He is!" thus may he be apprehended. 
So far as he is the reality of both ; 
'* He is ! " who has thus apprehended him. 
To him his essential nature becomes manifest. 

When all the suffering vanishes, 
Which finds a home in the human heart, 
Then he who is mortal becomes immortal. 
Here already he attains to Brahman. 

When all fetters burst asunder 
That are woven around the human heart. 
Then he who is mortal becomes immortal, 
Thus far the doctrine extends.* 

Yet he who here recognises again 
All living beings in himself. 
And himself in everything that lives. 
He no longer is vexed by any. 

Taitt. 2. 9. « Kena 11-12. » Ka^h. 5. 12, 6. 12-15. 


Here where the knowing self 

Becomes all living beings : — 

How could error be, how pain, 

For him who thus beholds the unity?* 

The darkness vanishes, there is no longer day nor night ; 
Neither being nor not-being, — blessed alone is he ; 
He is the syllable Om, Savitar's beloved light, 
From him knowledge flowed forth in the beginning.' 

He who, his spirit purified by contemplation. 
Plunges into the ^tman, — what measureless blessedness he feels ! 
That for the expression of which words are of no avail 
Must be experienced within in the inmost heart^ 

f He who still craves for his desires and clings to them, 
Will through his desires be born here and there; 
He whose desires are laid to rest, whose self is prepared, 
From him all desires vanish here below. 

He who beholds that Loftiest and Deepest, 
For him the fetters of the heart break asunder, 
For him all doubts are solved. 
And his works become nothingness. 

Like streams flow and disappear in the ocean, 
Abandoning name and form. 
So the wise, freed from name and form, 
Enter into that supreme divine spirit.* 

In the world's false show that has known no beginning. 
The soul slumbers ; when it awakes. 
Then there wakes in it the Eternal, 
Beyond time and sleep and dreams.' 

(The emancipated soul speaks) : — 

That which as enjoyment, enjoyment's object. 
And enjoyer knows the three states, 
Distinct therefrom, spectator, 
Pure spirit I am ever blessed. 

In me the universe had its origin 
In me alone does the All subsist. 
In me it vanishes, this Brahman, 
The timeless, it is I myself. 

» Isa G-7. 2 SVet. 4. 18. » Maitr. 6. 34. 

* Mu^d. 3. 2. 2, 2. 2. 8, 3. 2. 8. « M&^dtikya-Kdrika 1. 16. 


The smallest of the small I am, and none the less am I great, 

I am the motley rich universe, 

I am the Ancient, the spirit, the lord, 

Altogether of gold I am, the blessed Manifestation. 

Without hands or feet am 1, yet infinitely powerful, 
I see without eyes, hear without ears ; 
I am the wise, and beside me 
None other is wise in endless years. 

In all the Vedas I am to be known, 

I am the fulfiUer of the Vedas, learned in the Vedas, 

Free from good and evil, imperishable, 

Unbegotten am I, ¥rithout body or sensation ; 

For me there is neither earth nor water. 

Nor fire, nor yet wind or ether.^ 

On the basis of this and other passages we propose 
finally to attempt here to give a brief characterisation of 
those who have gained release. 

The knowledge of the fitman does not eflfect emancipa- 1 
tion, but it is emancipation ; for he who possesses it has 
found the existence of the universe as well as his own 
bodily and individual existence to be an illusion (mdyd). 
Everything else follows from this. 

(1) The wise man is akdmaya/rndna. Every wish, 
craving, desire, all hope and fear have for him been 
destroyed ; for all this presupposes an object to which it 
is related. Such an object however no longer exists for 
the wise man. " In truth, after that they have become 
conscious of this soul, Brdhmans abstain from desire for 
children and possessions and the world, and wander about 
as beggars. For desire for children is desire for posses- 
sions, and desire for possessions is desire for the world ; 
for all together are vain desire." * " This the men of old 
time knew, when they ceased to long for descendants and 
said, ' What need have we of descendants, we whose soul 
this universe is. ' " • Gaudapdda sums this up briefly and 

» Kaivalya 18-23. « Bfih. 3. 5. « Brih. 4. 4. 22. 



strikingly in the words : ^ — " What can he desire who has 
all ? " The wise man therefore no longer experiences fear. 
"He who knows this bliss of Brahman is not afraid 
either now or at any time "; * he is no longer vexed by 
anything";* **for wherefore should he fear? since fear 
assuredly is of a second." * 

! (2) The knowledge of the fttman transcends in- 
dividuality, and therefore the possibility of pain. " He 
who knows the fttman overcomes sorrow." * " He who is 
in the body is possessed by desire and pain, for because 
he is in the body no safeguard is possible against desire 
and pain. He however who is free from the body is not 
aflTected by desire and pain."' "He therefore who has 
crossed this bridge is like a blind man who gains his sight, 
like a wounded man who is healed, like a sick man who 
becomes whole." ^ 

(3) "And his works become nothingness."® All 
works, the good as well as the evil, become of no effect 
for him who has attained knowledge, as is often affirmed.* 
For the individuality which gave rise to them is for the 
wise only a part of that great universal illusion which 
he has succeeded in penetrating. 

(4) For the same reason future works no longer cling 
to him, as the water does not cling to the leaf of the lotus 

I flower.^® For him to do evil is entirely excluded by his 
(freedom from all desire. "Therefore he who knows this 
is tranquil, subdued, resigned, patient and self-controlled. 
He sees the Self only in himself, he regards everything as 
the Self. Evil does not overcome him, he overcomes all 
evil . . . free from evil, free from suffering, and free fiom 
doubt, he becomes a Brahman, he whose universe Brahman 

1 Ktokft 1. 9. « Taitt. 2. 4. « K&th. 4. 6, 12. 

* Brih. 1. 4. 2. » Ch&nd. 7. 1. 3. « Ch&nd. 8. 12. 1. 
^ CMnd. 8. 4. 2. « Mu^d. 2. 2. 8. 

• cp. the passages quoted above, p. 346 f . *^ Ch&nd. 4. 14. 3, 



is."^ "Whereby does this Brfihinan live? By living as 
chance may determine." * His future condition, as far as 
the bodily state is concerned, which he has cast off like 
the skin of a snake, is entirely without importance : — 

No matter whether a man wish for himself 
A hundred years, pursuing his work ; 
Kemain then, as thus thou art, not otherwise, 
The stain of work clings not to thee.* 

(5) "He who has reached this state in truth feels no 
doubt " ; * " for him all doubts are solved " ; * " free from 
doubt he becomes a Br&hman." • Because the knowledge 
of the &tman does not depend on reflection (tarka),'^ but 
on immediate intuition {anuhhava\ therefore he can no 
longer be shaken by any doubt. The illusion, when once it 
has been penetrated, can no longer delude. The question 
of the possibility of a relapse is not and cannot be raised. 

4. The Doctrine of Emancipation in Empirical Form 

(1) The &tman is unknowable. ^' 

(2) The fttman is the sole reality. 

(3) The intuitive knowledge of the fttman is emanci- 

In these three propositions is contained the meta- [ 
physical truth of the teaching of the Upanishads. Its 
further development consists in bringing down, though 
illegitimately, this metaphysical truth into the sphere 
where knowledge is possible (just as among the Greeks 
and in later philosophy), and clothing it in empirical form. 
(1) The &tman becomes an object of knowledge, which in 
truth it is not. (2) The reality of the universe is main- 
tained, and the consequent contradiction is adjusted by 
the oft-repeated assertion that the universe is identical 

1 Brih. 4. 4. 23. * Brih. 3. 6. « Is'ft. 2. * Chand. 3. 14. 4. 

» Mu^d. 2. 2. 6. « Brih. 4. 4. 23. ^ Kft^h. 2. 9. 


with the &tman. (3) Emancipation appears finally and 
wrongly in the phenomenal form of causality as a becoming 
something which previously had no existence, and in the 
phenomenal forms of time and space as the removal of a 
temporal and spiritual separation from the fi.tman, which 
never really existed and therefore does not need to be 

This is the origin of the empirical and therefore 

mistaken view that deliverance (which actually subsisted 

from the very beginning, and in the very instant of 

recognition becomes ours perfectly and consciously) is 

first attained fully with the dissolution of the body. 

" To him shall I enter in when I depart hence " ; ^ " to 

this (worldly sphere) shall I belong only until I am 

delivered ; then shall I go home " ; * " and when he has 

been delivered from the body (or, after that he has been 

delivered through knowledge), then (first ultimately in 

death) is he delivered," vimuktas' ca vimucyate} The 

comparison (of life) to the potter's wheel which ceases 

turning when the vessel (deliverance) is finished belongs to 

a later period,* like the distinction between those who are 

' first delivered in the hour of death (videhamukti)^ and 

I those who are already delivered during their life-time 

I (Jivanmukti). This distinction and the above comparison 

have their origin primarily from the realistic age of the 

Ved&nta that finds itself drifting towards the S^nkhya. 

Neither of them meet us in the Upanishads (with quite 

late exceptions), and are opposed to the original meaning 

, of the doctrine of emancipation. According to it, every 

I man, as soon as he is in possession of the knowledge 

j of the &tman, is jivanmukta. The continuance or 

• cessation of his bodily existence is to him, as everything 

else in the world, a matter of indifierence. He gains 

1 Chdnd. 3. 14. 4. * Ch&nd. 6. 14. 2. * Kft^. 5. 1. 

« Synt d. Ved,y p. 459 ; Garbe, SdiMyaphtl., p. 182. 


nothing by death of which he was not in possession 
already beforehand, and is released from nothing from 
which he had not been already released previously by 

As the theory of the videhamxikti together with the 
passages of the Upanishads that anticipate it rests upon 
the false supposition that between us and the &tman a | 
temporal separation exists; so the hypothesis of a ' 
spatial separation between the two, so that a departure . 
hence is necessary in order to reach the &tman, is not ' 
less mistaken and depends upon an unwarranted applica- 
tion of the methods of empirical knowledge. Nevertheless 
this mode of representation also is not rare in the 
Upanishads, under the influence of the ancient ideas of 
a departure to the gods, to Brahman, to the &tman.^ 
That the ideas which thus emerge are far from being 
consistent lies in the nature of things. We propose 
briefly to survey the most important passages. 

In Brih. 3. 3 we have an altogether mythical descrip- 
tion (though it is put into the mouth of YS,jnavalkhya) 
of the way by which the offerers of the asvamedha as 
the highest sacrifice are led hence, between the two 
shells of the egg of the universe, into the other world 
where the wind receives them. The averting also of re- 
newed death which is promised at the close to him whc 
knows the mind as particular and universal (individual 
and cosmical pr&na) proves that this chapter is still to. 
be ascribed to the age preceding the Upanishad teaching. • 
Brih. 5. 10 may be regarded as a continuation of it. ' 
Here a description is given of the reception of the 
departed (without distinction) by the wind in the other 
world, after which through the sun and moon they 
attain " the world that is free from heat and cold {as'okam 
ahimam, i.e. free from the contrasts of earthly existence), 

^tup. p. 343 f. 


in order to remain there " perpetual years." The dying 
man takes his way to the sun in Brih. 5. 15^ also. 
There however he recognises himself as identical with 
the purusha in the sun, an idea that already contains 
a suggestion of the atman doctrine, although it is 
subordinated to traditional mythological conceptions. 
The same is true of Ch&nd. 5. 13, where in the first 
instance the five pr&nas together with the five correspond- 
ing organs of sense and the five nature gods are called the 
five "openings of the gods" {devasushayas)^ and are 
described as " the five ministers of Brahman and door- 
keepers of the heavenly world " ; but then " the light which 
shines there on yonder side of heaven," which is to be 
reached through them, is identified with the light " which 
is here within in men." The eschatology also of Ch&nd. 
8. 1-6 exhibits this intermingling of mythological and 
philosophical ideas. Thus in Ch&nd. 8. 6. 1-5 the way 
hence to the sun is described that leads by the veins and 
the sun*s rays that join them, although previously in 8. 3 
the world of Brahman had been shown to be not at an 
incalculable distance, but in the heart. That the funda- 
mental view here is philosophical, and the mythical 
colouring a later embellishment, is proved quite un- 
mistakeably by the fact that in 8. 5. 3 from the word 
aranyam^ the "solitude," into which he who seeks 
Brahman retires, are invented "two seas in the world 
of Brahman in the third heaven from here" with the 
names ara and nya. To this a later hand added further 
glories of the world of Brahman (the lake Airammadiyara^ 
the fig-tree Somasavana^ the mountain Apardjitdy and 
the palace Prahhuvimitam). Perhaps the still more 
detailed description of the world of Brahman in Kaush. 
1. 3 is already derived from this passage. Here among 
other things not only does the palace Apardjitam (in 

1 lyft. 16-18. 


this place neuter) recur, and a tree Ilya appear, but 
mention is made also of "the sea Ara.'^ This latter 
name might well be a secondary formation from the sea 
ara of Chtod. 8. 5. 3 ; and it would then be evidence 
for the dependent character of this passage. A diflFerent 
view from Ch&nd. 8. 6. 1-5 is represented in the appended 
verse, Ch&nd. 8. 6. 6, which recurs in K&th. 6. 16. Here 
the separation of the emancipated as they ascend by the 
101st vein is made to take place not on entrance into 
the sun, but immediately on quitting the body. With 
this is connected the path of the emancipated by the 
crown of the head, by fire, wind and sun, up to Brahman, 
as is described in Taitt. 1. 6. All these passages are 
under the influence of the thought of the Upanishads, 
which they clothe in empirical forms, while blending it 
with the traditional mythological ideas. This becomes 
obtrusive in Ait. 3. 4 ; V^adeva having recognised 
himself as the fitman has " ascended from this world, in 
yonder world of heaven attained all his desires, and has 
become immortal," — very unnecessarily after he had 
already realised himself to be identical with the fitman, 
the first principle of all things. 

These conceptions are made clearer by the development 
of the theory of the Devaydna, as found in Ch&nd. 4. 15. 
5, and its connection with the analogous formation of 
the Pitriydna in the doctrine of the five fires, the 
principal text of the doctrine of transmigration, which 
has been already discussed. We saw^ how the souls 
of the emancipated were represented as attaining to 
Brahman through a series of bright stations (flame, day, 
bright half of the month, bright half of the year, year, 
sun, moon and lightning), whence "they no longer 
return on the downward path to this human existence." 
The Pitriyana was then next explained after the analogy 

^ «W2?. p. 336. 


of the Devay&na by means of the corresponding dark 
stations ; ^ this however involved, as was shown, the 
making the moon common to both ways. This drawback 
the author of Kaush. 1. 2 endeavours to remove by 
omitting or ignoring the preliminary steps on either 
side that lead to the moon, and bringing all thither, 
whence the ignorant return back, and the wise tread the 
Devay&na, to which by way of compensation for the 
omitted stages a series of new stations are assigned (moon, 
the worlds of fire, wind, Varuna, Indra, Praj&pati and 
Brahman). By the later Ved&ntists these are simply 
placed side by side with the previous stations.* In other 
respects also the theory of the less authoritative Kaushltaki 
has won a consideration not inferior to that of the 
Paflc'dgnividyd supported by the authority of Ch&nd. 

5. 3-10 and Brih. 6. 2. On it depend almost all the 
later representations of the Devayana, for example those 
especially that are found in Mund. 1. 2. 11, 3. 1. 6, 
Prasna 1. 10. By its side the thought of Y&jfiavalkhya 
that the knowledge of the &tman is in itself emancipa- 
tion continues to hold its ground, and is often associated 
without any attempt at accommodation with the theory 
of the Devayana, giving rise as a consequence to abrupt 
contradictions ; compare for example K&th. 6. 14-15 with 

6. 16, or Mund. 3. 2. 2 with 3. 1. 10. 

An adjustment of this contradiction was sought by 
the later theory of the hramamukti or release by 
stages, according to which the souls that for their 
devotion ascend on the Devay&na to Brahman are not 
yet emancipated, since they still fall short of perfect 
knowledge; nevertheless they do not return back to 
earth, (for it is said : — " For such there is no return "),• 
but attain perfect knowledge and therefore eternal 

1 mp, p. 335 f. « SysL d. VecL, p. 475. 

3 Brih. 6. 2. 15, Ch&nd. 4. 16. 5, 8. 15. 


deliverance in the world of Brahman before the end 
of the kalpa, when that world also is destroyed.^ 
In the Upanishads the hramamuhti appears to be 
already advocated by the SVet. Up. 1. 4, 1. 11, 5. 7. 
The verse in Mund. 3. 2. 6 may however be still 
older : * — 

They who have grasped the meaning of the Veddnta doctrine, 
Perfectly resigned, penitent, of unsullied purity, 
In the world of Brahman at the end of time 
Will all be set free by the Indestructible. 

XVI. Practical Philosophy 

1. Introduction 

Every theory of the universe includes judgements 
on the relative value or worthlessness of objects, and 
thereby secures an influence on our practical conduct. 
Every philosophical system therefore has an ethical side, 
whether it be matured or not into a special ethical system ; 
and it is precisely this side to which our feeling attaches 
so great importance that we are inclined to estimate the 
value of a philosophical theory of the universe by the 
ethical consequences which have resulted or may be 
derived from it. We allow ourselves to be guided in 
these matters by the old adage, — " By their fruits ye shall 
know them." * Even this saying however cannot be taken 
without limitations. For to continue the illustration 
employed by Jesus, it may happen that a tree is good and 
yet bears no, or no good fruit, — possibly because its 
blossoms are prematurely touched by the cold breath of 
the knowledge of the truth. 

This may in fact have been the case in India. Eternal 

1 cp. Sytt. d, VeddrUOy pp. 430, 472. 

« cp. Mabdndr. 10. 22, Kaivalya, 3-4. « Matt. 7". 


philosophical truth has seldom found more decisive and 
striking expression than in the doctrine of the emanci- 
pating knowledge of the fitman. And yet this knowledge 
may be compared to that icy-cold breath which checks 
every development and benumbs all life. He who knows 
himself as the fitman is, it is true, for ever beyond the 
reach of all desire, and therefore beyond the possibility of 
immoral conduct, but at the same time he is deprived 
of every incitement to action or initiation of any kind ; 
he is lifted out of the whole circle of illusory individual 
existence, his body is no longer his, his works no longer 
his, everything which he may henceforth do or leave un- 
done belongs to the sphere of the great illusion, which he 
has penetrated, and is therefore of no account. Accord- 
ingly he lives idrisa eva, " as it happens,"* and though he 
wish for a hundred years of life and enjoyment, no action 
will defile him, or will defile you, evam tvayi, " when you 
are thus," i.e. when the universe is for you plunged in 
the abyss of the divine being. Only painfully and 
artificially has the Bhagavad Glt& the skill to derive 
from these premisses a demand for heroic action, as we 
shall see in a later part of our work. When the know- 
ledge of the S.tman has been gained, every action, and 
therefore every moral action also, has been deprived of 

Moreover moral conduct cannot contribute directly, 
but only indirectly, to the attainment of the know- 
ledge that brings emancipation. For this knowledge 
is not a becoming something which had no previous 
existence, and might be brought about by appropriate 
means, but it is the perception of that which previously 
existed, existed indeed from all eternity. It is compared 

1 Brih. 3. 5. 1 ; he is yddricchika^ Ma^d{ikya-K. 2. 37, Paramahamsa 
Up. 4. 

> Ifl'a. 1. 2. 


(as early as the later Upanishads) with awakening/ 
and like that follows of itself* and not by design : — 

In the infinite illusion of the universe 
The soul sleeps; when it awakes 
Then there wakes in it the Eternal, 
Free from time and sleep and dreams.* 

It was first at a later period, when the method of 
empirical knowledge took entire possession of the doctrine 
of emancipation, and conceived it as has been shown under 
the category of causality, that the knowledge through which 
deliverance is attained came to be regarded as a becoming 
something, as an efiect of definite causes, which might 
therefore be brought about by promoting such causes. 
Thus emancipation was conceived, again empirically, in 
accordance with the external signs which it manifested. 
These signs were principally two : — 

(1) The removal of all desire. 

(2) The removal of the consciousness of plurality. 
It was worth while therefore to produce or at least to 

expedite emancipation by artificial means, and the result 
was two remarkable manifestations of the culture of India, 
which are contained in germ in the older Upanishads, and 
in a series of later Upanishads pass through a complete 

(1) The Sanny&sa. 

(2) The Yoga. 

The former seeks by artificial measures to suppress 
desire, the latter the consciousness of plurality, and thus 
to secure the attainment of the knowledge through which 
deliverance is wrought, as far at least as its external signs 
are concerned. Practical philosophy is comprised in these 

' prahodhay Haihsa Up. 1, Atmaprabodha 1, Gaudap. 1. 14, 3. 40, 4. 92, 98 ; 
cp. pratibuddhoj Bpih. 4. 4. 13 ; pratihodha^ Kena 12 ; jdyrata^ Kiith. 3. 14 ; 
boddhum, Eath. 6. 4 ; nityahy ftMho^ buddhah, Nrisiihhott 9. 

« Kath. 2.23. a M&^4iikya-K&r. 1. 16. 


two manifestations of culture, which pursue their course 
on parallel lines, and often touch ; and it has been 
developed out of the thoujghts of the Upanishads (empiric- 
ally conceived). This we have yet briefly to treat, as^ 
far as the materials afforded by the Atharva Upanishads 
will allow us. First however we propose to gather to- 
gether here the most important ethical ideas which 
present themselves in the Upanishads, not so much arising 
from the 4tman doctrine as holding a place by its side. 

2. Ethics of the Upanishads 

Europeans, practical and shrewd as they are, are wont 
to estimate the merits of an action above all by its objective 
worth, that is by the resultant profit for neighbours, for 
the multitude, or for all men. He who has obtained the 
greatest results by this standard passes for the greatest 
man of his time ; and the widow's mite is never anything 
more than a mite. But this objective worth of a good 
action is too entirely dependent on the favourable or 
unfavourable character of environment, on mental endow- 
ment, on position in life, on the accessory forces of trade 
and other accidents, to be capable of serving as a standard 
of moral value. Such a standard must have regard rather 
to the subjective worth of an action, which consists in the 
greatness of the personal sacrifice which is involved, or 
more strictly speaking in the actor's consciousness of the 
greatness of the sacrifice which he believes himself 
to be making, and consequently in the degree of self- 
denial (tapas), and self-renunciation {nydsa\ which is 
exhibited in the action, whether in other respects it be of 
great or little or absolutely no value for ethers. 

This distinction may save us from being betrayed into 
an unjust judgement when we note, at first with some 
surprise, that amongst the ancient Indians, whose con- 
sciousness of human solidarity, of common needs and 


interests, was but slightly developed, the sense of the 
objective worth of moral action (that is, the worth it 
possesses for others) is very inferior to ours, while their 
estimate of its subjective worth (that is, its significance for 
the actor himself) was advanced to a degree from which we 
may learn much. In this senfee the ethical system of the 
Upanishads concerns itself especially with the subjective 
interpretation of moral action, and less with their external 
results ; although this latter consideration is by no means 
absolutely wanting, but is merely subordinated to the first. 
This we propose to show in the first place by a few examples. 

In Ch&nd. 3. 17 life is regarded allegorically as a great 
soma festival. In this a miniature ethical system in five 
words is incidentally interwoven, when as the reward of the 
sacrifice {dahshirid)^ which is to be offered at the great sacri- 
ficial feast of life, are named : — (1) tapas, asceticism ; (2) 
ddnam, liberality; (3) drjavam, right dealing; {A)ahirhsd^ 
no injury to life ; and (5) satyavac'anam^ truthfulness. 

In Taitt. 1. 9 twelve duties are enumerated, by the 
side of each of which the " learning and teaching of the 
Veda " are constantly enjoined. These are : — Eight dealing 
and truthfulness ; asceticism, self-restraint, and tranquillity ; 
and as duties of a householder, — ^Maintenance of the 
sacred fire and the agnihotram, hospitality and courtesy, 
duties to children wives and grandchildren. 

In India also, as in other countries, men believed that 
they heard the voice of the moral law-giver (Praj&pati) in 
the roll of the thunder, whose da ! da ! da ! is explained 
in the myth of Brih. 5. 2 as ddmyata! datta! daya- 
dhvam ! (be self-restrained, liberal, pitiful). 

The beneficent results of good actions are beautifully 
expressed in MahS^ndr. 9.^ "As the scent is wafted afar from 
a tree laden with flowers, so also is wafted afar the scent 
of a good deed." 

^ In the Atharva Recension 8. 2. 


On the other hand, the wicked act is sternly 
condemned in the verse preserved in Chand. 5. 10. 

The thief of gold, and the spirit drinker, 

The murderer of a Br&hman, the defiler of his teacher's bed. 

These four perish, and he who associates with them as the fifth. 

The fact that only special cases are cited here instead 
of universal prohibitions of theft, drunkenness, murder 
and adultery, thus showing lack of generalisation, as well 
as the rarity of such warnings, in Upanishad literature, 
proves that offences of this character were not conmion, 
and that many an Indian chieftain might make in sub- 
stance his own the honourable testimony which Asvapati 
Kaikeya bears to his subjects : — 

In my kingdom there is no thief. 

No churl, no drunkard. 

None who neglects the sacrifice or the sacred lore, 

No adulterer or courtesan.^ 

This is in keeping with the gentle humane tone which 
we see adopted in the Upanishads in the intercourse of 
husband and wife, father and son, teacher and student, 
prince and subject. 

Where ethics found so little external work to do, they 
could give the more undivided attention to the internal, 
in the spirit of the proverb : — 

In thyself know thy friend, 
In thyself know thy enemy.* 

The strife with this internal foe is tapa^ (asceticism), 
the victory over it nydsa (self-renunciation), and in these 
are contained the two fundamental ideas, around which 
the ethical thought of the Upanishads moves. Tapas has 
been already discussed in detail ; * and we will only add 

1 Ch&nd. 6. 11. 5. « Bhag. G!t& 6. 5. • ««p. pp. 65-70. 


here that in Mah&n&r. 8 all virtues are quite correctly 
explained as tapas, while according to Mah&n&r. 62. 11 
" all these lower mortifications " ^ are surpassed by nydsa, 
self-renunciation. More importance than to isolated ex- 
pressions of this character attaches to the fact that in 
course of time the ancient traditional life-stages of the 
hrahmac'drin and grihdstha had a third and a fourth 
added to them, in which these two supreme virtues were 
incorporated as it were, tapas as vdnapt^astha, and nyasa 
as sannydsin. These four life-stages of the Brahman — as 
student, householder, andhorite and wandering beggar — 
in which according to a subsequent view the life of every 
Indian Br&hman should be spent, were at a later time very 
significantly named dsramas^ i.e. "places of mortifica- 
tion."* The whole life should be passed in a series of 
gradually intensifying ascetic stages, through which a 
man, more and more purified from all earthly attachment, 
should become fitted for his " home *' (astam)^ as the other 
world is designated as early as Rigv. X. 14. 8. The entire 
history of mankind does not produce much that approaches 
in grandeur to this thought. 

In the older Upanishads the theory of the four 
fisramas is seen in course of formation. Ch&nd. 8. 15 
mentions only the Brahman-student and householder, 
and promises to these in return for study, the begetting 
of children, the practice of yoga, abstinence from doing 
injury, and sacrifice, a departure hence without return. 
ChS,nd. 2. 23. 1 names the tapas (of the anchorite) side 
by side with these as a third " branch of duty." There is 
still no progressive series. Rather according to this 
passage the Brahman-students, in so far as they do not 

^ A list of which is given like the similar series of virtues in Taitt. 1. 9, 
sup. p. 365, and Mahanilr. 8. 

• First, as far as our knowledge goes, in the atyds^ramin of S'vet 6. 21, 
followed by Maitr. 4. 3, etc. 


elect to remain permanently in the house of the teacher, 
appear to have devoted themselves partly to the house- 
holder's state, partly to the life in the forest. It is in 
harmony with this that in Ch4nd. 5. 10 among the dying 
the anchorite in the forest and the sacrificer in the village 
appear side by side. Chand. 2. 23. 1 contrasts all three 
branches of duty with the position of the man who 
"stands fast in Brahman." So too in Brih. 4. 2. 22, 
those who practise (1) the study of the Veda, (2) sacrifice 
and almsgiving, (3) penance and fasting, are contrasted 
with the man who has learnt to know the ^tman, and in 
consequence becomes a muni and pravrdjin (pilgrim). 
Both have attained the knowledge of the fttman, and 
therefore the supreme goal In the cognate passage B|ih. 
3. 5, on the contrary the Br&hmana is still distinguished 
from the muni as a higher grade. In Brih. 3. 8. 10 also 
the knowledge of the &tman as the highest aim is 
difierentiated both from the sacrifices and benefiictions 
(of the householder), and from the practices of tapds (of 
the anchorite). All these passages assume only the three 
stages of Brahman-student, householder and anchorite, and 
contrast with them the men who know the &tman. The 
last were originally " exalted above the (three) &s'ramas." * 
This very position however of exaltation above the 
S^ramas became in course of time a fourth and highest 
fisrama, which was naturally assigned to the end of life, 
so that studentship, and the positions of householder and 
anchorite (which stood side by side) preceded it as 
temporary grades in this successive order. Until a late 
period however the separation between the third and 
fourth ^sramas, between the v&naprastha practising tapas, 
and the sanny&sin who has succeeded in attaining ny&sa, 
was not strictly carried out. An intimation of the fourfold 
number of the as'ramas is perhaps already afforded by the 

* aJbyAs'Tamin^ as it is said in S^ret. 6. 21, Eaiy. 24. 


words of Mund. 2. 1. 7: — " mortification, truth, the life of 
a Brahman, instruction." Otherwise the oldest passage, 
which names all four fts'ramas in the correct order, would 
be JabalaUp. 4 : — "When the period of Brahman-student- 
ship is ended, a man becomes a householder; after he 
has been a householder, he becomes an anchorite; after 
he has been an anchorite, let him travel about on 

The further development of the theory of the four 
as'ramas belongs to the later period of the dharmasutras 
and dharmas'&stras. Here we propose merely to take a 
brief survey of the substance of the teaching of the 
Upanishads on this subject. 

(1) The Brahmac'drin. "S'vetaketu was the son of 
(Uddalaka) Aruni. To him said his father, * S'vetaketu, 
go forth to study the Brahman, for none of our family, my 
dear son, is wont to remain unlearned, and a (mere) 
hanger-on of the Brfi,hman order.' " ^ From this remark it 
seems to follow that at that time entrance upon the life of 
a Brahman-student, while it was a commendable custom, 
was not yet universally enjoined upon Br&hmans. The 
entrance also of Satyak&ma upon studentship appears to 
be his voluntary determination.* It was possible for a 
man to receive instruction from his father, as S'vetaketu,' 
or at the hands of other teachers, as the same S'vetaketu.* 
The request to be received must follow duly {tirthena, 
cp. vidhivat, Mund. 1. 1. 3), i.e. according to Brih. 6. 2. 7, 
with the words, — upaimi aham hhavantam. The student 
takes the fuel in his hand as a token that he is willing to 
serve the teacher, and especially to maintain the sacred 
fires.^ Before receiving him, the teacher makes inquiry 

1 Ch&nd. 6. 1. 1. « Ch&nd. 4. 4. 1. 

8 Chand. 5. 3. 1, Brih. 6. 2. 1, Kaush. 1. 1. 
* Chdnd. 6. 1. 1, differing from the passages just quoted. 
« Kaush. 4. 19, ChAnd. 4. 4. 5, 5. 13. 7, 8. 7. 2, 8. 10. 3, a 11. 2, Mupd. 1. 2. 
12, PrasTia 1. 1. 


into his birth and family,^ but yet, as this example shows, 
in a very indulgent manner. Sometimes instruction is 
given even without formal reception {anupaniya)} The 
duration of the period of instruction is twelve years,' or 
"a series of years."* Svetaketu also begins to receive 
instruction at the age of twelve,^ and continues his study 
for twelve years. During this time he has " thoroughly 
studied all the Vedas," ® namely the verses of the Rigveda, 
the formulas of the sacrifice, and the hymns of the Sama,^ 
apparently therefore only the samhit&s. In other instances 
there appears to have been at first no mention of study. 
In one example Upakosala has tended the sacred fires for 
twelve years, and yet the teacher can never make up his 
mind to impart to him "the knowledge."® Satyak&ma is 
sent at first with the teacher's herds of cattle into a 
distant country, where he remains for a succession of 
years.* A further act of service on the part of the 
brahmac'S.rin consists in his going to beg for the teacher.^* 
On festival occasions also we find him in the train of the 
teacher and awaiting his commands. ^^ Together with 
and after these acts of service " in the time remaining 
over from work for the teacher " (guroh karma-atis^eshena) 
the study of the Veda is prosecuted.^ The consequence 
was sometimes rather darkening of knowledge than 
real enlightenment.^' We further find the students 
wandering from place to place; "they hasten from all 
sides" to famous teachers, like water down the hill;" 
they roam as far as the land of the Madras (on the 
Hyphasis) " in order to learn the sacrifice." " As a rule 
however they live as antevdsins in the house of the 
teacher, and not a few found this manner of life so 

1 Ch&nd. 4. 4. 4. « Ch&nd. 5. 11. 7. » Ch&nd. 4. 10. 1. 

♦ Ch&nd. 4. 4. 5. » Ch&nd. 6. 1. 2. « Ch&nd. 6. 1. 2. 

f Ch&nd. 6. 7. 2. » Ch&nd. 4. 10. 1-2. . » Ch&nd. 4. 4. 6. 

10 CMnd. 4. 3. 6. " Brih. 3. 1. 2. " Ch&nd. 8. 16. 

" CMnd. 6. 1. 2. " Taitt. 1. 4. 3. " Brih. 3. 7. 1, 3. 3. 1. 


congenial that they " settled permanently in the teacher s 
house." ^ The others were dismissed at the close of the 
period of studentship with advice ^ or admonitions : — 
" After he has studied the Veda with him the teacher 
admonishes his pupil, — ' Speak the truth, do your duty, 
forsake not the study of the Veda; after you have 
presented the appropriate gifts to the teacher, take care 
that the line of your race be not broken/"' Further 
admonitions follow, not to neglect health and possessions, 
to honour father, mother, teacher and guest, to be blame- 
less in act and life, to honour superiors, to bestow alms in 
the appropriate manner, and in all doubtful cases to order 
himself according to the judgement of approved authorities. 
(2) The Grihastha. " He who returns home from the 
family of the teacher, after the prescribed study of the 
Veda in the time remaining over from work for the 
teacher, and pursues the private study of the Veda in (his 
own) household in a pure neighbourhood (where BrS-hmans 
are permitted to live), trains up pious (sons and pupils), 
subdues all his organs in the &tman, and besides injures 
no living thing except on sacred ground (at the sacrifice), 
he in truth, if he maintains this manner of life all his 
days, enters into the world of Brahman and does not 
return back." * According to this passage, the householder 
may remain in that state all his life long without doing 
injury to his soul. According to Ch&nd. 5. 10, on the 
contrary, for those " who in the village observe the rites 
with the words — * Sacrifice and works of piety are our 
service,' " for those therefore who continue in the house- 
holder's state to the end of life, the transient reward in 
the moon is appointed and a return to a new earthly 
existence. The most imperative duty of the householder 
is to establish a family and to beget a son to continue his 

1 Chand. 2. 23. 1. « Bfih. 6. 4. 

« Taitt. 1. 11. * Ch&nd. 8. 16. 


fathers works. This subject has been already con- 
sidered.^ Several wives are permitted, as in fact Yajna- 
valkhya himself had two.* Further duties of the grihastha 
are named, — sacrifice, study of the Veda, and almsgiving.* 
How far the obligation of sacrifice suffered prejudice 
through the ideas of the Upanishads has been already 

(3) The Vdnaprdstha and (4) the Sannydsi7i {bhikshu, 
parivrdjaka). A distinction between these two periods 
of life was established at first gradually. Originally the 
solitary life in the forest existed as a special "kind of 
vocation " (dharmaskandha) side by side with the position 
of householder.* Later it may have become usual to 
retire into the solitude of the forest on the approach of old 
age, after the obligations of the householder had been 
satisfied. Y&jfiavalkhya is an example, when he addresses 
his wife Maitreyt : — " I will now abandon this state (of 
householder), and will therefore make a division between 
thee and Katy&yanl."® With Yajnavalkhya this st^p 
means the putting into practice of his teaching in Brih. 
3. 5. 1 : — " In truth, after that Br&hmans have gained 
the knowledge of this soul, they abstain from desire for 
children and desire for possessions and desire for the world, 
I and wander about as beggars." Here the third and the 
.'fourth states are not yet distinguished. The case is 
' otherwise with the king Brihadratha, who surrenders his 
kingdom, journeys into the forest, and gives himself up to 
the most painful mortifications, gazing fixedly at the sun 
and standing with arms crossed, and yet is obliged to 
confess : — " I am not acquainted with the &tman." '' Here 
the anchorite, who devotes himself to ascetic practices 

1 sup, p. 293 ff. « Brih. 2. 4, 4. 5. 

8 Ch&nd. 2. 23. 1, 8. 5. 1-2, Brih. 4. 4. 22, 3. 8. 10. 

♦ sup. p. 61-66. « Ch&nd. 2. 23. 1, 6. 10. 1-3. 

« Brih. 2. 4. 1 (4. 6. 1-2). ' Maitr. 1. 2. 


' with meditation/ has not yet attained the highest goal ; 
if anyone without knowing the fitman " practises asceticism 
for a full thousand years, to him it brings only finite 
(reward)."^ Asceticism leads only to the Pitriyana,* and 
the case is different only with those who can say : — " Faith 
18 our asceticism."* Penance and fasting are only the 
means by which Brahmans " seek to know " the &tman.*^ 
According to some, tapas is indispensable as a means to ft 
the knowledge of the fttman ; • according to others, it is '( 
superfluous as far as any fruits of the system are concerned.^ 
For as long as the goal was future the hope might be 
cherished of approaching near to it by severing by means 
of asceticism the tie that binds to this life. If however 
emancipation is the discovery of oneself as the fttman, and 
therefore something that only needs to be recognised as 
already existing, not to be brought about as though it were 
future, the asceticism of the v&naprastha becomes as super- 
fluous as the grihastha's sacrifice and study of the Veda.® 
He who knows the S,tman is atydsraminy " exalted above 
the (three) fisramas."* He has attained that which the 
ascetic only strives after, complete release from his 
individuality and from all that pertains to it, as family, 
possessions and the world. ^^ He is called sannydsiny 
because he "casts off everything from himself" (sam-ni- 
as)^ because he "wanders around" homeless {parivrdj, 
panvrd}aka\ because without possessions he lives only as 
a ** beggar" (bhikshu). 

3. The Sannydsa 

The Sannydsa, which is originally only the rejection 
of the entire Brahmanical mode of life with its three 

' Ch&nd. 2. 23. 1. « Brih. 3. 8. 10. ^ Brili. 6. 2. IG. 

* Ch&nd. 6. 10. 1. • vividishamti, Brih. 4. 4. 22. 

« Maitr. 4. 3, iia atapcutkofya dtmajfldne 'dhvjamal^. 
^ Jab&la Up. 4. 8 Bjih. a 5, 4. 4. 21. • 8'vet. 6. 21. 

'<• Brih. 3. 6, 4. 4. 22. 


S,s'ramas, assumed in course of time the position of a 
fourth and highest &s'rama, which as a rule, though not 
necessarily, would first be entered upon towards the close 
of life after passing through the stages of brahmac'arin, 
grihastha and v&naprastha. It thus, however, gained a 
further meaning. If it was originally an apparent conse- 
quence of the knowledge of the fi,tman, it became now a 
final and most certain means by which it was hoped to 
attain that knowledge. The Sannyasa accordingly is 
represented as such a means to the knowledge of the 
S,tman and to emancipation in a series of later Upanishads 
(the most important are Brahma, Sannyasa, Aruneya, 
KanthasrutiyParamahaThsa, JdbdlayAsrama) ; and from 
these we propose to endeavour to sketch a picture of this 
most characteristic feature of Indian religious life. Re- 
meml)ering however the slight regard which the Sann- 
yasins, following the example of YSjnavalkhya,^ entertain 
for the Vedic tradition, and the lack of other authority, it 
is intelligible that the rules and formulas out of which the 
Sannyasa Upanishads have been compiled are in details 
full of contradictions. 

( 1 ) Preliminary conditions of the Sannydsa. A clear 
distinction between these four asramas is found only in Jab. 
4 and Asr. 1-4. The latter Upanishad distinguishes the 
third and fourth stages by the fact that all four varieties 
of the v&naprastha continue to observe the sacrifice in 
the forest, while the four varieties of the sannyfisin are 
absolved from it. Jab. 4 enjoins entrance into the 
sannyasa only after passing through the stages of 
brahmac'&rin, grihastha and vSnaprastha, but permits the 
transition direct from any stage. Similarly in Kanth. 1 
the injunction is given to renounce the world "in the 
right order," while in Kanth. 2 a deviation from it is 
allowed. In Sanny. 1 renunciation is defined as an 

1 Brih. 3. 6, 4. 4. 21. 


" advance beyond the stages of life " (therefore still not a 
fourth stage). According to the descriptions of Sanny. 2 
and Kanth. 4 the transition is direct from the position of 
householder to renunciation ; and the reason for this may 
be either that grihastha and vSnaprastha are still placed 
side by side as preliminary stages of renunciation/ or 
that vtoaprastha and sannyS^in are not yet definitely 

(2) Departure from life. The Sanny &sa demands a sur- 
render of all possessions, a resigning the seven upper and 
seven lower worlds, which on this occasion are enumerated,' 
an abandonment of sons, brothers, relatives,* of father, son 
and wife,*^ of teachers and relatives,' of children, friends, 
wife and relatives/ a leaving behind of family.® In one 
passage only • is permission given for him who renounces 
the world to be accompanied by his wife. The Sannyfisa 
is accordingly a complete separation from life ; and there- 
fore in this instance also, as at death, a pmification 
{samshdra) by sacred text and ceremonies has to be 
observed.^^ In particular the candidate for renunciation 
has still to ofier a sacrifice for the last time, in the de- 
scription of which the texts greatly differ. In Sanny. 1 
an offering is prescribed to the deceased and a sacrifice to 
Brahman (brdhmeshti) ; henceforth the man who has re- 
nounced the world lives without offerings to the deceased 
and sacrifices. ^^ Kanth. 4 requires that in the first place 
for twelve successive days an agnihotram with milk shall 
be proffered, during which time the sacrificer himself 
shall live only on milk ; then after selecting once again 
as before all the hitherto recognised sacrificial priests,^ 
he is to offer a vais'vdnara sacrifice {i.e. to Agni Vais'v&- 

^ As in Chfind. 2. 23. 1. * As in Asr. 3-4, and later. 

» Ar. 1. ♦ Ar. 1. » Ar. 5. « Kapth. 4. 

' Par. 1. 8 Ar. 2. » Sanny. 2. 7. *• Sanny. 1. 
"Par. 4. "Kapth. 1. 


nara, probably to be understood as in Ch&nd. 5. 19-24),^ 
accompanied by a mouse to Praj&pati (perhaps as ransom 
from the duty of begetting), and a cake of three layers 
to Vishnu.^ In J&b. 4, on the contrary, the sacrifice to 
Praj&pati is disapproved of, and only that to Agni as 
Pr&na is demanded (probably therefore the vaisvdnara, 
sacrifice), but subsequently direction is given for a 
Traidhdtavtya offering to the three elements, sattvam, 
i\ijas and tamos. Thus too in Jab. 4, in harmony with 
the separation of all four stages here carried out, he who 
enters upon the Sanny&sa is thought of as a v&naprastha ; 
and this is the ground of the immediately following 
prescription, that the priests shaU cause the fire to be 
brought from the village; if no fire is to be had, the 
offering shall be made in water, " for water is all the 
deities."' This offering is made with the words, " Om / 
I offer to all the deities, svdhd" where the word om im- 
plies all three Vedas ; * and thereupoji the sacrificer shall 
taste the fat and savoury meats of the sacrifice. Accord- 
ing to Kanth. 1 he is to stretch his limbs sjrmbolically 
over the sacrificial utensils, thereby signifying his renun- 
ciation of them. Kanth. 4 commands him to throw his 
wooden vessels into the fire, the earthen into water, and to 
give the metal ones to his teacher ; elsewhere he is to throw 
the broken wood into the fire.^ Thereby he symbolically 
takes the fire, which henceforth he will no longer maintain, 
into himself,* or into his body.^ The sacrificial fire he 
takes up into the fire of his belly,® the G&yatri ^ into the 
fire of his speech. ^^ It is probably this taking up of the 
sacrificial fire into his own body which is symbolically 
intended when he who has renounced the world, addressing 

1 Ka^th. 1 and 4. ^Ka^t^h. 4. « cp. «tp. p. 190f. * JAb. 4. 

* Sanny. 1, Kanth. 4. • Sanny. 1. ' Sanny. 2. 4. 
^ In which for the future he offers the pr&^a-agnihotram, iup. p. 124 f. 
» i.e. the Veda, Chdnd. 3. 12. 1. ^o Ar. 2. 


the fire, has to consume a handful of ashes from the 
embers/ or to smell the fire.* Besides this ceremony, 
mention is made of a special initiation (dtksfid),^ which 
must be completed by means of the hymn Atharvav. 11. 
8 : — " When Manyu chose himself a wife from out of the 
sankalpa," etc. Since this hymn expresses itself in 
depreciatory style of the origin of the body,* this appli- 
cation of it perhaps meant that a man thereby declared 
himself free from his own body. After thus separating 
himself from sacrificial duties, a highly significant act 
followed, upon which accordingly stress is laid by all the 
texts, namely the laying aside of the sacred thread, the 
token that he belongs to the Br3.hmanical class,^ and the 
lock of hair which indicates his family descent.' Hence- 
forth meditation alone is to serve as the sacrificial cord,^ 
and knowledge as the lock of hair,® the timeless &tman is 
to be both sacred thread and lock of hair for him who has 
renounced the world.* According to Kant;h. 4 the sacred 
thread, according to J&b. 6 this and the lock of hair, are 
offered in water with the words " svdhd to the earth " ; 
according to Ar. 2 the sacred thread and lock of hair 
are to be buried in the earth or sunk in water. The later 
systematising of As'r. 4, which distinguishes four grades of 
SannyS^ins, insists on the retention of the lock of hair and 
the sacred thread by the Bahudaka, the lock of hair without 
thread by the Hamsa, and allows only the Paramahamsa 
as the highest grade to dispense with lock of hair and 
sacred thread, or even to shave the head. On this point 
also difference of opinion exists. Kant;h. 2, 3, 4 demands 
removal of the hair of the head, J&b. 5 complete baldness, 

1 Kanth. 4. « J&b. 4. » Sanny. 3, Kanth. 6. 

* cp. the translation, AlUjemtine EirUeitung, pp. 270-277. 

« Ka^itli. 2, 3, 6, Ar. 1, 3, 6, Brahma 3. 

« sihhdy Kanth. 2, 3, Ar. 1, Brahma 3, Par. 1. 

' Kanth. 2, Brahma 3, Par. 2. 'Ka^i^h. 2, Brahma 3. 

•Pur. 2. 


Kanth. 5 only a lesser tonsure, Sanny. 3 and Kanth. 5 re- 
moval of the hair on the privy parts and armpits. Last of 
all, the separation from the son takes place, who accompanies 
his father for a certain distance, after which with festive 
greetings both turn right round and go their way without 
looking back ; and the son is not permitted to shed tears.^ 
(3) Dress and Equipment. On these also great 
diflferences of opinion exist. The robe should according 
to Sanny. 3, Kanth. 5 be dark red, according to Jab. 5 
colourless, according to Kanth. 2 torn or made of bark, 
according to Sanny. 4 patched. As'r. 4 permits the 
Bahudaka to wear a loin-cloth and dark red robe, the 
Paramahamsa only rags and a loin-cloth. Par. 4 requires 
of the latter that space be his clothing, J&b. 6 that he 
should live " naked as he was born." Together with the 
coat, girdle and thread, the staves also of palfis'a, bilva or 
as'vattha wood, which serve to distinguish the castes, must 
be laid aside.* In their place the triple staflF, composed of 
three staves twisted together {tridandamy probably as a 
token of the reconciliation of caste diflferences), makes its 
appearance,' but even this is sometimes forbidden.* We 
have instead the single staflF (token of complete reconcilia- 
tion),^ or the staflF of bamboo.® Even this however is pro- 
hibited ^ with the remark that he who carries knowledge 
alone as his staflF is rightly named a man with a single staflF. 
Asr. 4 introduces system again here by permitting the triple 
staflF to the Bahudaka, to the Hamsa the single staflF, and 
allows no staflF to the Paramahamsa. Similarly in Sanny. 
3 a sieve, in Kanth. 5 a ragged cloth is allowed for the 
straining of liquid, to prevent the destruction of any living 
thing ; on the contrary, in J&b. 6 and the verses of Kanth. 
5 even cloth-strainers are forbidden. A covering is per- 
mitted by Par. 1, but Par. 2 prohibits this for the highest 

1 Ka^ith. 2 and 3. « Ar. 6. » Sanny. 4. 

♦ Ka^ih. 6, J&b. 6, Ar. 2. » Par. 1. « Ar. 3. ^ Par. 3. 


grade. A summary in verse is given of the objects which 
a less strict observance allows to the SannySsin : — 

Pot, drinking-cup and flask, 
The three supports, a pair of shoes, 
A patched robe giving protection 
In heat and cold, a loin-cloth. 
Bathing drawers and straining cloth, 
Triple staff and coverlet.^ 

These same objects, the very verse being repeated, are else- 
where forbidden to the SannySsin,* and with this the enum- 
eration in the prose of J&b. 6 agrees. Another passage * 
allows them to the Bahudaka, and forbids them only to the 
Paramahamsa. The direction of Ar. 5, that he who has 
renounced the world shall bear the syllable om on his 
limbs, is unique. 

(4) Food. The Sanny&sin must live by begging,* only 
bread given in charity and broken fruits are to be his 
food,*^ or water, air and fruits.' Food should be asked of 
all four castes,^ the distinctions of which have no longer 
any existence for the Sanny&sin. As'r. 4 distinguishes here 
also four grades ; the Kuttc'aras are to beg in the houses 
of their children, the Bahudakas of well-to-do Brfi.hman 
families, and the Paramahamsas alone of all four castes. 
In begging the Sanny&sin is to employ a clay or wooden 
vessel, or a gourd,® but elsewhere the rule is laid down that 
his belly should form his vessel,^ his hand,^^ or his belly 
or hand." He who has renounced the world " shall eat 
the bread of charity, but give no alms " {bhikshdsi na 
dadydt, for which might be read with a very slight change 
bhikshds't 'shad adydt, ** living on the bread of charity he 
shall eat little ").^* This would be in harmony with other 
passages, according to which he who has renounced the 

1 Sanny. 4. 

« Kapth. 5. 

« As'r. 4. 

* Kanth. 5. 

* Sanny. 4, 5. 

•Sanny. 2, 4. 

' Ka^th. 2. 


»Ka9th6, Jab. fi. 

»o Ka^ith. 2. 




world should use his food only as medicine,^ should avoid 
eating sufficient to put on fat, but should remain thin.* 
Nevertheless, should he feel weak, he should not pursue 
these and other abstinences so far as to give rise to dis- 
order : * if he is ill, he should practise self-mortification 
only in the spirit or by means of words.* Elsewhere it 
is said, extending the theory of the Prfi.n&gnihotra : • — 
"That which he eats in the evening is his evening 
sacrifice, in the morning his morning sacrifice, at the 
new month his new moon sacrifice, that at the full moon 
his full moon sacrifice, and when he cuts (afresh) in the 
spring the hair of his head, his beard, the hair of his body, 
and his nails, that is his agnishtoma (a kind of Soma 
sacrifice ").* 

(5) Place of abode. The essential characteristics of 
the man who has renounced the world are already implied 
in the three chief names which he bears. As sannydsin 
he must " cast everything from him," as bhikshu live only 
as a " beggar," and as parivrdj\ parivrdjaka must wander 
about homeless as a " pilgrim (vagrant)." He is no longer 
tied to any locality. He has no further interest in dying 
in Avimuktam (a place at Benares that ensures immediate 
salvation for those who die there), for he bears always with 
him the Varand and the Ast (two streams, between which 
Benares lies, and from which it derives its name Vdrdiiast), 
as the arches (yarana) of his eyebrows and his nostrils 
{ndsdy As a rule he is to make his home by the 
side of water,® on sand-banks in a river or before the 
doors of a temple,* or to sit or lie on the bare earth.^* 
According to J&b. 6, he should "remain homeless in a 
deserted house, or a temple of the gods, on a heap of grass, 
or an antheap, or among the roots of a tree, in a potter's 

1 Ka^th. 2, Ar. 3. 

« Kanth. 2. 

« Ka^th. 2. 




^ Jab. 1-2. 

• Kaptb 

» Sanny. 4, Ka^th. 6. 

w Ar. 4. 


shed, by a sacrificial fire, on an island in a river, in a 
cave in the mountains, a glen, or a hollow tree, by a water- 
fall, or on the bare earth." He may tarry only one night 
in a village, only five nights in a town.^ An exception is 
allowed in the rainy season.^ During the four months of 
rain he may remain in a village or a town ; ' in the re- 
maining eight he is to wander about either alone or in the 
company of another.* 

(6) Occupation. The Sannyasin, as we have seen, no 
longer offers sacrifices, the place of these being taken by 
the nourishing of his own body,* and similarly he continues 
to live without study of the Veda,® without the Vedic 
texts ;^ but he is to "recite the Aranyakam and the 
Upanishads from all the Vedas."® All the texts require 
of him " bathing, meditation, and purification by sacred 
waters," • washings at intervals of three days,^^ washings 
and rinsing of the mouth " with water as the vessel " (i.e. 
without a vessel).^ In particular there is also enjoined 
upon him silence," meditation,^' and the practice of yoga}^ 
His chief virtues are described as " chastity, abstinence 
from doing injury, poverty and truthfulness." " He says : 
— " All living creatures are at peace with me, for by me 
everything has been created." ^® He must not accept gold, 
or touch it, not even once look at it/^ He has abandoned 
all desire, knowledge is his staff, therefore is he rightly 
named *' with a single staff"; he however who takes the 
wooden staff, because it gives him freedom " to eat of any- 
thing," is a false sanny&sin, and goes to hell.^ He on the 

^ Ka^th. 2 ; according to Ast. 4, this rule first becomes binding at tlie 
Haiiisa stage. 

« Ka^th. 6. 

* Ea^^h. 2. ; a gloss makes only two of them, cp. Deussen, l/jxin., 
p. 699. 

♦Ar.4. 'Ka^th. 4. « Par.l, Ar. 1. ' Ar. 2. 

« Ar. 2. » Sanny. 4, Ka^ith. 5. ^0 Ar. 2. " Ka^ith. 2. 

i^Ka^th. 3. »«Ar. 2. i* Sanny. 4. i» Ar. 3. 

" At. 3. " Par. 4. " Par. 3. 


contrary who has truly renounced the world ** should bid 
farewell to lust, anger, desire, infatuation, deceit, pride, envy, 
self-will, presumption and falsehood." ^ He is " free from 
the six surges (of samsara : — hunger, thirst, vexation, error, 
old age and death), and leaves behind him censure, pride, 
jealousy, deceit, haughtiness, longing, hatred, pleasure, 
pain, desire, anger, greed, error, joy, disappointment, seK- 
will and everything of the kind ; and because his own 
body is regarded by him merely as a carcase he turns 
away for ever from this decaying body, which is the cause 
of doubt, perversity and error, and directs his mind stead- 
fastly to that (Brahman), makes his home in him, and 
knows of him, who is tranquil, immutable, — * I am that 
timeless one, consisting wholly of bliss and knowledge, it is 
I myself, he is my highest state, my lock of hair, my sacred 
thread/ " * He is not elated by praise, does not curse when 
he is reviled.' ** He does not attract and he does not east 
oflf ; for him there are no longer Vedic texts, or meditation, 
or worship, or visible and invisible, or joined and disjoined, 
or I and thou and the world, . . . steadfast in pain, in 
pleasure without desire, in longing self-restrained, in all 
things dependent neither on beauty nor ugliness, free from 
hatred and free from joy. The motions of every impulse 
have been stilled, he abides only in knowledge, firmly 
founded in the atman." * '' Then he may enter upon the 
great journey, by abstaining from nourishment, throwing 
himself into the water or the fire, or choosing a hero's death ; 
or he may betake himself to a hermitage of the aged." * 

4. The Yoga 
Emancipation consists in the consciousness of unity 
with the atman as first principle of all things. It is 
essentially on the one hand an annihilation of all desire, 

1 At. 4. « Par. 2. « Ka^th. 6. 

« Par. 4. * Ka9^h. 4, J&b. 6. 


and on the other an annihilation of the illusion of a 
manifold universe. The first, as we saw, is the aim of the 
sannydsa ; to effect the latter by preparatory artificial 
means is the function of the yoga. It is therefore, apart 
from excrescences and exaggerations, a perfectly intelligible 
consequence of the doctrine of the Upanishads. For if 
the highest end is contained in the knowledge of self- 
identity with the atman, why should we not attempt 
to reach it by purposely dissolving the ties that bind 
to the illusory world of phenomena, and by self- 
concentration ? That the external world derives little or 
no advantage from the practices of the Yoga does not 
enter into consideration for a truer ethical judgement/ 
The only real consideration that may be urged against the 
practices of yoga, which have always been highly esteemed 
in India, and are to this day widely spread (precisely as 
they may be urged against the self-imposed acts of 
penance among the Pietists of the West), consists in this, 
that they aim at bringing about in an artificial way that 
which is only thoroughly genuine when it originates 
naturally and without the assistance of our will. Tout ce 
qui n'est naturel est imparfait, as Napoleon would have 
said. In other respects the phenomena of yoga are akin 
not only, as has often been asserted, to certain diseased 
conditions that exist also among ourselves (hypnotism, 
catalepsy, etc., upon which we do not enter since the 
material to hand in the Upanishads does not suggest it), 
but also with the entirely healthy and joyous phenomenon 
of aesthetic contemplation. The more than earthly joy 
which we experience at the sight of the beautiful in nature 
or in art depends upon a forgetfulness of one's own 
individuality, and a union of subject and object, similar 
to that which the yoga endeavours to secure by artificial 
means. These means we propose now to consider. 

1 sup. p. 364. 


In post-Vedic times the practice of yoga was developed 
into a formal system with its own text-book (the sutras of 
Patanjali). The rise of this system, as its first beginnings 
in Kath. 3 and 6, S Vet. 2 and Maitr. 6 show, belongs to 
the time when the original idealism of the Upanishad 
teaching began already to harden into the realistic 
philosophy of the Sankhya. On this foundation, wliich 
was far from being adapted to its original conception, the 
later yoga system was raised. This system therefore lays 
the chief stress on external means {sddhana)y and the 
external results thereby attained (vibhUti); and regards 
the union with the only real &tman, wliich was the 
original aim of the yoga, as a separation (kaivalyam) of 
the purusha from the prakpiti, dismissing entirely into 
the background that which was properly its chief concern, 
the meditation on the atman by means of the syllable om. 
Only the theism was preserved over from the later 
Upanishads, in contrast to the chosen basis of the Sankhya; 
and thus external support was secured for the system, 
although no real life could ever be fostered on this un- 
congenial ground.^ A remarkable testimony to this 
theistic modification of the S&nkhya system in the service 
of the doctrine of the yoga is given by the C ulik& Upani- 
^ shad, which, starting from the twenty-five principles of the 
\ Sankhya, ranks the Isvara with them on purely external 
\ grounds " as the twenty-sixth" (or probably by the inser- 
. tion of atman as twenty-seventh),* and recognises its 
difference from the purushas only in the freedom with 
which it drinks from the breasts ** of its foster-mother 

The chUdren indeed are numberless, 
That drink there of the world of sense. 
Yet one alone drinks of it as Qod, 
Freely following his own will.' 

1 sup, p. 238 f. « C'Ol. 14. » C'Al. 6. 


In the sequel we limit ourselves to the yoga, as far as 
we are able to follow it up through the Upanishads, and 
adopt from the post-Vedic system merely as the frame- 
work of our picture the "eight members" {anga), into 
which the yoga is divided on the practical side, and of 
which the five last (with tarka as a sixth) are already 
enumerated in two passages of the Upanishads, though 
not yet in the regular order.^ The later eight angas 
are as follows: — (1) yama, discipline (consisting in 
abstinence from doing injury, truthfulness, honesty, 
chastity, poverty); (2) niyama, self-restraint (purity, 
contentment, asceticism, study, devotion) ; (3) dsanam, 
sitting (in the right place and in the correct bodily 
attitude) ; (4) prdndydma, regulation of the breath ; 

(5) pratydhdra, suppression (of the organs of sense); 

(6) dhdrandy concentration (of the attention) ; (7) 
dhydnam, meditation ; (8) samddh% absorption (complete 
union with the object of meditation). 

These requirements we see already presented separately 
in the older Upanishads. Thus we have pratydhdra in 
the direction of ChS,nd. 8. 15, "to bring all his organs to 
rest in the &tman," and prdndydma, when Byih. 1. 5. 23 
enjoins as the "sole vow" to inhale and exhale. Here 
and in other passages* the regulated breath takes the 
place of the sacrifice, and seems thenceforward to have 
been adopted into the yoga as a symbolic act. The word 
yoga in a technical sense first occurs, exclusive of Taitt. 
2. 4, in K&th. 2. 12 (adhydtma-yoga), 6. 11, 18, SVet. 
2. 11, 6. 13, Maitr. 6. 18, etc. The true explanation of it 
as " harnessing, arranging " is evident from the expression 
dtmdnam yunjita occurring in Mah&n&r. 63. 21 and Maitr, 
6. 3 ; while in Maitr. 6. 25 the yoga seems to have been 
conceived as a " union " (between pr^na and the syllable 
om). The Upanishads quoted contain also the earliest 

* Maitr. 6. 18, Amritab. 6. « «fp. p. 124. 



theory of the yoga practice. Kfi,th. 3. 13, recaUiug 
S&nkhyan ideas, requires that speech and manas "shaD 
be restrained" {yac'chet) in the buddhi, the buddhi in 
the mah&n which is still distinguished from it, and the 
latter again in the avyaktam. Kath. 6. 10-11 enjoins a 
fettering {dhdrand) of the organs (senses, manas, buddhi), 
whereby the purusha thus separated from them all may be 
drawn forth from the body, as the stalk from the bulrush/ 
S'vet. 2. 8-15 discusses already the choice of place,* the 
manner of sitting,* the regulation of the breath,* the 
control of the senses and manas in the heart,* and 
mentions the phenomena that accompany and follow 
yoga.® To this is attached the recommendation of the 
syllable om, which occurs as a symbol of Brahman as 
early as ChS-nd. 1. 1, Taitt. 1. 8, as a vehicle {dlambanam) 
of meditation,^ as fuel,® as bow,® or as arrow,^® in order to 
pierce the darkness, and to hit the mark in Brahman. 
The three morae (a, u, m), of which the syllable om consists, 
are mentioned' first in Pras'na 5, Maitr. 6. 3, while the 
third and a half mora first occurs as the " moraless " part 
of the word in MS-nd. 12, as the " head of the syllable om" 
in Maitr. 6. 23. To these anticipations are attached 
descriptions of the practice of yoga, which are found in 
Maitr. 6. 18-30 and in the Yoga Upanishads of the 
Atharva-Veda. The most important are, — Brahmavidya, 
Kshurika, Culika ; Nadabindu, Brahmabindu, Amritabindu, 
Dhyanabindu, Tejobindu ; Yogas'ikh&, Yogatattva, and 
Hamsa ; upon these we base our description, following 
the later order of the eight members {yama^ niyama^ 
dsanam, prdndydma^ pratydhdra^ dhdrand^ dhydnam, 

1 6. 17. « 2. 10. » 2. 8. * 2. 9. 

» 2. 8, 9. « 2. 11-13. ' Kfith. 2. 17. 

8 S'vet 1. 14, Dhyanab. 20. • Mini^. 2. 2. 4, Bhy&nab. 19. 
w Maitr. 6. 24. 


(1) Yama, restraint, and (2) niyania^ self-restraint. 
These two divisions do not yet occur in the enumerations 
of Maitr. 6. 18 and Amritab. 6, possibly because they are 
tacitly assumed to be universal duties (objective and 
subjective). The remark of Yogat. 15 might be quoted 
here with many others to prove that the yogin affords 
protection to all beings, since he knows them to be his 
own self; and admonitions like the following : — 

From fear, from anger, from indolence, 
From excessive wakefulness, excessive sleep, 
From too much food, and from starvation 
The yogin should constantly protect us.^ 

(3) Asanam, sitting. Stress is laid in the first place on 
the choice of the right locality. As early as S'vet. 2. 10 
it is prescribed for the practice of yoga : — 

Let the place be pure, and free also from boulders and sand. 

Free from fire, smoke, and pools of water, 

Here where nothing distracts the mind or offends the eje. 

In a hoUow protected from the wind a man should compose himself. 

Elsewhere " a pure region," * a " level surface of the ground, 
pleasant and free from faults/* * are required. According 
to Yogat. 15 yoga should be practised "in a lawful place, 
quiet, remote, and free from distractions." Kshur. 2, 21 
ordains that "a noiseless place" should be chosen. In 
regard to the mode of sitting, the Upanishads are still free 
from the extravagant definitions of the later Yoga, which 
betray external influence. No less than eighty-four 
modes of sitting are there distinguished. S Vet. 2. 8 
prescribes only a triple holding erect (of breast, neck and 
head), and symmetry of sitting posture. Amritab. 18 
lays stress upon facing the north (the region of the way 
of the gods), and enjoins only three modes of sitting, 
viz. — the lotus seat {padmdsanam^ i.e. sitting with the 

1 AmjiUb. 27. • Maitr. 6. 30. » AmriUb 17. 


legs bent underneath, the usual method of sitting in 
India), the cruciform seat {svastikam\ and the auspicious 
seat (bhadrdsanam) ; the two last diflfer only slightly 
from the first. Yogas'. 2 directs the choice of the lotus 
posture "or otherwise as seems good to him," with 
attention concentrated on the tip of the nose, hands and 
feet closely joined. Amritab. 22 commands the yogin to 
sit firm and motionless, " from every side above and below 
his gaze turned fixedly on himself" Kshur. 2 lays stress 
only on " the right mode of sitting." Kshur. 4 speaks of 
a correct inclination of the breast, hips, face and neck 
towards the heart. A special kind of bodily posture is 
described in the concluding verse of Sanny. 4. Asanam, 
like yama and niyama^ is not yet reckoned in the Upani- 
shads as an ahga of the yoga, and the latter has therefore 
only six divisions {shadango yoga' ucyate)^ not eight as 
later on. They are enumerated in Maitr. 6. 18, viz. — 
prdndydma^ pratydhdra^ dhydnam, dhdrand, tarka, 
samddhi. The same list, but with the transfer of 
prdndydma to the third place, recurs in Amritab. 6. 
It is strange that both lists place dhdrand not before, 
but after dhydnam; this may be due to some other 
conception of these ideas than that which later became 
usual. Both lists name tarka, reflection, in the fifth 
place, and this in Amyitab. 16 is defined as "meditation, 
which is not contrary to the teaching," and explained by 
the commentator in one place * as control of the dhydnam^ 
but elsewhere as the knowledge free from doubt which 
proceeds from the dhydnam. 

(4) Prdndydma, regulation of the breath. This is dis- 
tinguished into recaka, pHraka, kumbhaka.^ In harmony 

1 Amritab. 6 and Maitr. 6. 18. 

« On Maitr. 6, 18. 

' They are mentioned also in the Yoga sMras 2. 50, a fact which Garbe 
contests, since only other names are chosen, after a manner that the sAtras 
afifect, as vdhya'ahhyarUarO'Stamhha'Vfitti, 


with the chief passage/ (l) recaka is exspiration, which 
ought to be prolonged ; * (2) pHraka is inspiration, 
described in Yogat. 12, effected either through one 
nostril, the other being closed with the finger,^ or through 
the mouth pointed like the stalk of a lotus;* (3) 
himbhaka, retention of the breath in the lungs,* whence 
apparently it pervades all the limbs of the body by means 
of meditation.® Recaka should be accompanied with the 
thought of S'iva, pdraka with that of Vishnu, kumbhaka 
with that of Brahman.^ Prdndydma eflFects the destruc- 
tion of all sins.® 

(5) Pratydhdra, suppression of the organs of sense, is 
mentioned as early as Ch^nd. 8. 15. As the tortoise 
draws in its limbs,® so are all the senses withdrawn into 
the man together with the active manas, for these are 
only emanations of the S,tman,^® are checked,^^ are shut up 
in the heart," and are reduced thereby to tranquillity." 
The objects of sense in him are thus brought to rest,^* and 
the senses are restrained as in sleep." 

(6) Dhd/rand, concentration, affects the manas, which 
as the organ of the will hinders emancipation, unless it 
is checked, locked up in the heart, reduced to ineffective- 
ness, and so deliverance from the manas is attained." 
The manas should therefore be subjected to external 
restraint,^^ curbed in every direction," immersed in the 
self," until it is entirely dissolved therein.**^ The im- 
prisonment of the manas in the heart is taught also in 
Kshur. 3 ; in other respects also this Upanishad derives 
its name from the fact that it teaches a kshurikd 

1 Ainritab. 10 f. « Kshur. 6. • Amyitab. 19. 

* Ampitab. 13, Dhy&nab. 11. « Amntab. 12, Yogat. 13. 

« Kshur. 4, 6 f. ' Dhy&nab. 11-13. « Amjitab. 7-8. 

• Kflhur. 3, Yogat. 12. " Amj-itab. 6. " K&th. 3. 13. 
" SVet 2. 8. " K&th. 6. 10. " Maitr. 6. 19. 
^» Maitr. 6. 26. " Br^mab. 1-6, Maitr. 6. 34. 

1^ Maitr. 6. 19 ; a higher kind of dhdrand is described in what foUows, 6. 20. 
" Yogas . 3. " Amyitab. 16. •• N&dab. 18. 


dhdrand, a concentration of the attention of the manas 
on the several limbs and veins of the body, whereby they 
are in turn cut off from it by the knife of manas, and thus 
freedom from desire is attained. 

(7) Dhydncmhy meditation. Although even svddhydya 
is found among the niyamas,^ yet as a rule the study of 
the Veda is very lightly esteemed by the yogin. He is 
not proud of brS,hmanical descent, or of knowledge of 
the Scriptures,* he has in the search for true knowledge 
thoroughly examined the books, and found in them only 
chaff instead of wheat.* Therefore he throws the books 
away, as though they burned him.* The sole wisdom is 
that which teaches how to reduce the manas to impotence 
in the heart, "the other is learned trash.*'* The place 
of knowledge of the Veda is taken by meditation on that 
word, which " all the Vedas proclaim to us," • the pranava, 
i.e. the sacred syllable om. It is the best support,'^ the 
bow off which the soul as the arrow flies to Brahman,^ 
the arrow which is shot from the body as bow in order to 
pierce the darkness,* the upper fuel which with the body 
as the lower fuel is kindled by the fire of the vision of 
God,^^ the net with which the fish of prana is drawn out, 
and sacrificed in the fire of the &tman," the ship on which 
a man voyages over the ether of the heart,^ the chariot 
which bears him to the world of Brahman." Its three 
Tnovde a u m are fire, sun and wind," they are the essence 
of all things.^ He who meditates on them by one mora 
gains the world of men, by two the pitriy&na, by three 
the devayana.^^ Besides the three morae the word has a 
fourth " moraless " part,^^ which forms the crown of the 

1 mp. p. 386. 8 Tejob. 13. » Braliraab. 18. 

* Amritab. 1. » Brahmab. 5. « K&tb. 2. 15. 

T Katb. 2. 17. » Miuid. 2. 2. 4. » Maitr. 6. 24. 

10 S'vet. 1. 14. " Maitr. 6. 26. " Maitr. 6. 28. 

i» Amritab. 2. " Maitr. 6. 3. " Maitr. 6. 6. 

i« PrasTia 5. " M&^d. 12. 


syllable om/ and which later on is described as the third 
and a half mora.* It is this half mora which leads to 
the supreme goal ;* it is represented by the point (hindu) 
of the anusvara, the point of strength, which bears the 
deepest meaning,* and sounds in the echo (ndda), the 
toneless m-syllablc {asvara makdra),^ which in one 
passage is described as completely silent, without noise, 
tone, consonant or vowel,® but in another sounds like the 
echo of a tin vessel when struck, or of a bell,^ or like the 
prolonged dripping of oil, or the after tones of the notes 
of a bell,® or again may be produced in ten different 
ways, of which the last is recommended, sounding like a 
peal of thunder.® Compare also on the mention of the 
echo Atharvas'ikhS, 1. With increasing exaggeration 
there are ascribed to the syllable om five morae,^^ three 
morae and three echoes,^^ three morae with a half mora 
anusv§,ra and an echo," three morae and four half morae," 
and finally in a different sense twelve component parts." 
The Upanishads are never weary of offering interpreta- 
tions of the three or three and a half morae in allegorical 
style as Agni, V&yu, the Sun, and Varuna,^* as the three 
worlds, three Vedas, three fires, three gods, three daily 
periods, three measures, or three gunas ; " so that medita- 
tion on the half mora (the point or the echo) was valued 
far above all these things. 

Essentially it was the unknowableness of the first 
principle of the universe, the Brahman, thus early 
entering into consciousness, and the impossibility of 

1 Maitr. a 23. « Nadab. 1, Dhyanab. 17, Yogat. 7, etc 

« Yogat. 7. * Tejob. 1. * Amritab. 4. 

« Amritab. 24. ' Brahmavidyd 13. « Dhy&nab. 18. 

» Hamsa 4. " Amritab. 30. " Pranou Up., Upan., p. 863. 

" Ramott. 2. " Rdmott. 5. 

^* Nudab. 8-11, Kshur. 3, Amritab. 23, Nrisiiiihott. 2 (cp. Deussen, Upan.y 
p. 782 f.). 

» N&dab. 6-7. 

^" Brahmavidytl 4-7, Yogat. 6-7, Atharvas'iras 5, Atharvas'ikhft 1, etc. 


expressing it by word, conception or illustration (neti, 
neti), which had compelled the choice of something so 
entirely meaningless as the syllable om; but it was 
precisely on that account especially fitted to be the 
symbol of Brahman. The same consideration however 
led to a further advance beyond even the syllable, first 
to the half mora, and then even beyond this : — 

Higher than the original syllable 
Is the point, the echo higher than this; 
The syllable vanishes with the sound, 
The highest state is silent.^ 

This highest state, which is not expressed by any word 
or combination of words,* cannot be meditated on by 
means of om, but only in absolute silence. By the syllable 
om a man may only " enter upon " the yoga.^ It is the 
chariot, which is abandoned where the highway ends 
and the footpath begins.* Om is never more than the 
"Brahman word," beyond which lies still the Supreme.* 
"Here the word signifies the sound om; ascending by 
this man attains to nothingness in that which is not a 
word," like the sap of the flowers in the liquid honey.* 
Thus the eighth and highest stage of yoga is reached. 

(8) Sam^dhi^ ahsoTiptioji. Meditation becomes absorp- 
tion when subject and object, the soul and God, are 
so completely blended into one that the consciousness 
of the separate subject altogether disappears, and there 
succeeds that which in Maitr. 6. 20-21 is described 
as nirdtm^katvam (selflessness). The empirical and 
particularising view, with reminiscence of ideas like 
those in Chand. 8. 6. 5-6, Taitt. 1. 6, looks upon this 
union as an ascent of the soul that meditates from the 
heart through the vein sushumnd and the Brahm^aran- 

1 Dhy&nab. 4. « Tejob. 7. » Brahmab. 7. 

* Amritab. 3. » Brahmab. 17. « Maitr. 6. 22. 


dhram to union with the Brahman who fills the universe. 
Numerous descriptions of this progress are given, not 
always mutually consistent. The heart is represented as 
a lotus flower, a view already prevalent from the time of 
Chfi^nd. 8. 1. 1/ "It hangs down, encompassed by the 
veins, quite (d) like the calyx of a flower," a hot fire burns 
in it, and from its midst a tongue of flame rises mounting 
upwards.^ More detailed descriptions of this lotus flower 
of the heart are found in Dhy&uab. 14-16, Hamsa 8 and 
frequently. At the meditation on the a the lotus flower 
becomes bright, opens at the u, rings gently at the m, and 
with the half mora ceases to move.^ In the body (in the 
heart) there is a sun, in this a fire, and in this a tongue of 
flame which is the supreme god.* This last in the meditation 
of the yoga pushes its way through the sun of the heart : — 

Then it winds upwards 
Through the gleaming gate of the sushumnd ; 
Breaking through the arch of the skull, 
It gazes finally on the Supreme. 

According to Maitr. 6. 38, there is in the heart a sun, 
in the latter a moon, in this a fire, in this again the 
sattvam, and in this the soul, which forces its way 
through all the covermgs named, bursts through the 
fourfold woven sheaths of Brahman {annamaya, prdna- 
maya, manomaya, vijndnamaya\^ voyages with the 
boat om over the ether of the heart,® and so finally 
attains to the vision of the Supreme. Compare also the 
description of the ether of the heart, and its penetration 
of it.*^ We should thus have to understand in Brahma- 
vidy& 8-10 also by sankha not as the scholiast does the 
valves of the brain but of the heart. In them, according 
to this passage, the a shines as sun, in the latter the u 

1 mp, p. 287. 2 Mah&n&r. 11. 8-12. « Yogat. 9-11. 

* Yogas'. 4-7. » Taitt. 2, Maitr. 6. 28, 38. « Maitr. 6. 28. 

' Maitr. 6. 22, 27. 


as moon, in this again the m as fire, while above this is 
the half mora as a tongue of flame. 

With regard also to the ascent of the soul from the 
heart very numerous representations are given. Ac- 
cording to Maitr. 7. 11, by meditation on amy the tejaSy 
i.e. the individual soul (cp. the second of the verses 
quoted below) bursts forth, ascends on high like smoke 
rising in a single column, and spreads itself abroad like 
one branch after another (unceasingly). Amritab. 26 
represents the prana as ascending by means of the silent 
om "through the gates of the heart and of the wind, 
the gates which lead upward, and the portals of emanci- 
pation." According to Dhy&nab. 22, the half mora like a 
rope draws the manas upwards jfrom the fountain of the 
lotus of the heart by the path of the veins until between 
the eyebrows it is lost in the Supreme. Brahmavidya 
11-12 describes how by means of om the sun of the 
heart and the 72000 veins ^ are penetrated, the journey 
upwards is made on the sushumnd (the carotis), and the 
head is broken through, and the man continues to exist 
as the giver of health to all beings, pervading the 
universe. The conception of Kshur. 8 f . is similar, 
according to which the prfina climbs up from the navel 
to the heart on the sushumnd^ like the spider on its 
thread (the same illustration as in Maitr. 6. 22), and so 
further still from the heart upwards ; whereupon with 
the knife of the power of yoga it cuts through all the 
limbs, divides the 72000 and the 101 veins with the 
exception of the (101st) sushumnd, leaves behind there 
its good and evil states, and ascends upon it to its 
termination in Brahman. Thus the yogin according to 
Maitr. 6. 19 strips off from himself all ideas, all con- 
sciousness, the entire psychical framework which is 
already separated from the external world (the lingam 

1 Brih. 2. 1. 19. 


nirds'rayam, cp. S§,nkhya-K. 41) and "is merged in 
the supreme, indescribable, ineffable Brahman " : ^ — 

Yet the joy, which with the gradual decay 

Of the mind is content with its own witness to itself, 

Is Brahman pure and eternal, 

The true way, the true world.* 

He who " in this way at all times duly prosecutes the 
yoga " after three months attains to knowledge, after four 
to the vision of the gods, after five to their strength, and 
after six their absolute nature.* After six months he 
"gains a part in the perfect might of yoga."* By con- 
tinued meditation on the morae his body by a process of 
gradual refinement becomes composed in turn of earth, 
water, fire, air and ether, until finally he thinks only in 
and through himself {c'intayed dtmand dtmani).^ 

He knows nothing further of sickness, old age, or suffering. 
Who gains a body out of the fire of yoga. 

Activity, health, freedom from desire, 
A fair countenance, beauty of voice, 
A pleasant odour, fewness of secretions. 
Therein at first the yoga displays its power.* 

The thought of Yoga delivers from all sins,'^ though the 
sins were " like mountains rising many miles high " : ® — 

He who through thousands of births 
Does not exhaust the guilt of his sins, 
Sees finally by the yoga 
The destruction of the saihs&ra even here.* 

1 Maitr. 6. 22. * Maitr. 6. 24. » Amritab. 28 f. 

* Maitr. 6. 28. » Amritab. 30-31. « S'vet 2. 12-13 

' Yogat. 1. • Dhy&nab. 3. » Yogas'. 10. 


XVII. Retrospect of the Upanishads and 
THEIR Teaching 

1. Introduction 

The Upanishads (apart from the later and less 
important books) have been handed down to us as 
Vedanta, ie, as the concluding part of the Brahmanas and 
Aranyakas, which teach and expound allegorically the 
ritual of sacrifice. They are nevertheless radically opposed 
to the entire Vedic sacrificial cult, and the older they are 
the more markedly does this opposition declare itself. 
" He who worships another deity (than the atman, the 
self) and says ' It is one, and I am another,' is not wise. 
But he is like a house-dog of the gods. Just, then, as many 
house-dogs are of use to men, so each individual man is 
useful to the gods. If one house-dog only is stolen it is 
disagreeable, how much more if many ! Therefore it is not 
pleasing to them that men should know this." ^ 

This antagonism of the &tman doctrine to the sacrificial 
cult leads us to anticipate that at the first it would be 
greeted with opposition by the Brahmans. An instance of 
this is preserved to us in Yajnavalkhya, who in Brih. 3-4 
meets with jealousy and contradiction at the hands of the 
Brahmans, but with enthusiastic assent from King Janaka. 
This antagonism may have been the reason why the 
doctrine of the S.tman, although originally proceeding from 
Brahmans like Y&jnavalkhya, received its earliest foster- 
ing and development in the more liberal-minded circles 
of the Kshatriyas ; while among the Brahmans it was on 
the contrary shunned for a longer period as a mystery 
{upanisliad)y and continued therefore to be withheld from 
them. The Brahman Balaki does not know that the 
atman is Brahman, and is instructed on the point by king 

1 Brih. 1. 4. 10. 


Aj&tasatru.^ Six Brahmans "of great learning" first 
gain from king As'vapati the knowledge that they must 
seek the atman vais'vS.nara before all else in themselves.^ 
Similarly the Brahman Narada is instructed by Sanat- 
kumdra the god of war,* and three Brahmans by king 
Prav&hana.* While the same king Prav&hana en- 
lightens the Brahman Uddalaki Aruni on the subject 
of the transmigration of souls with the remark : — " This 
knowledge has never up to the present time been in the 
possession of a Brfi^hman." * 

According to these testimonies, which carry all the 
greater weight because they have reached us through the 
Br&hmans themselves, the Brfihmans had received the 
most important elements of the science of the &tman first 
from the Kshatriyas, and then in course of time had 
attached them to their own Vedic curriculum, so that the 
Upanishads became what they now are, the Veddnta. 
The hostility towards the sacrificial cult was then by 
means of allegorical interpretations, in which each school 
struck out its own path,® concealed rather than laid to rest. 
That the Br&hmans later on asserted a claim to the 
doctrine of the &tman as their peculiar heritage seems to 
be asserted by the verse : — " Only he who knows the Veda 
comprehends the great omnipresent atman." ^ .In any case 
the progress and regular development of the Atman 
doctrine was in their hands. And the oldest Upanishads 
are to be regarded as the latest fruits of this activity, 
to which were added in course of time other works pro- 
duced in the same spirit, which with more . or less right 
bore the names of Upanishad and Veddnta. Probably 
only at a considerably later period did they assume a 
written form. It seems a fair inference from Kath. 2. 7-9 : 

1 Brih. 2. 1 (Kaush. 4). « Ch&nd. 5. 11-18. » Chftnd. 7. 

* Ch&nd. 1. 8-9. » Chand. 5. 3-10 (Bph. 6. 2) ; Brih. 6. 2. 8. 

« sup. p. 120 f. ' Taitt. Br. 3. 12. 9. 7. 


— " Without a teacher there is no access here," — that the 
older Upanishads were at that time not yet committed to 

No satisfactory chronology of the Upanishads can be 
framed, since each of the principal Upanishads contains 
earlier and later texts side by side with one another. On 
the whole and generally, however, the classification and 
order here adopted ^ may be expected to correspond also 
to the historical succession. A more precise confirmation 
of this is to be inferred from the general course of our 
exposition. Of especial weight in our view is the proof 
advanced that Brih. 1-4 (not the appendix 5-6) together 
with S'atap. Br. 10. 6 is older than all other texts of 
importance, especially older than the Ch&ndogya Upani- 
shad. The last confessedly is dependent not only on 
S'atap. Br. 10,* but also on the Y&jfiavalkhya texts,* as is 
proved by the fact that often thoughts of the latter are 
reproduced by the Chand. Up., and at the same time 
misunderstood.* Thus we shall have to look for the 
earliest form of the doctrine of the Upanishads above all 
in the Yajnavalkhya discourses of the Brihad&ranyaka. 

2. Idealism as the Fundamental Conception of the 

In the conception of unity as it is expressed in the 
words of Rigv. 1. 164. 46 : — ekam sad viprd hahudhd 
vaddnti, "the poets give many names to that which is 
one only," — the fundamental thought of the whole teach- 
ing of the Upanishads lay already hidden in germ. For 
this verse, strictly understood, really asserts that all 
plurality, consequently all proximity in space, all succession 
in time, aU relation of cause and effect, all interdependence 
of subject and object, rests only upon words {vadanti) or, 

1 sup, pp. 23-26. « Ch&nd. 3. 14, 4. 3, 5. 11-18. 

« Brih. 3-4 compared with 1. 4, 2. 4. ^ cp. tup. pp. 206 f., 233 L, 105 L 


as was said later, is " a mere matter of words {vdcdram' 
hhana)^^ and that only unity is in the full sense real. An 
attempt was made in the first instance to conceive this 
unity in the mythological idea of Prajapati, then in the 
ritualistic idea of Brahman, and finally without allowing 
the latter to drop, and by a mere strengthening of the 
subjective element already contained in it, in the philo- 
sophical idea of the S.tman. But even the S.tman idea is 
not at first free from definitions (of the gods, Praj&pati, 
and Brahman) that it has inherited from the mythology. 
Thus for example in S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 3, after the atman 
has been described as pervading all worlds, and at the 
same time, inconceivably small, dwelling at the centre of a 
man's being, it is said in conclusion : — " He is my soul, to 
him on my departure hence, to this soul shall I enter in." 
Everyone feels the contradiction in these words, and that 
there is no need of entering in after death if the S.tman 
really " is my soul." The first to recognise this, and to 
grasp the conception of the atman in its complete subjec- 
tive precision, who therefore laid the foundation of the 
Upanishad doctrine proper, is the YSjnavalkhya (himself 
mythical throughout) of the Brihad&ranyaka Upanishad. 

The teaching of Y&jnavalkhya (whatever may lie con- 
cealed behind this name) is a daring, uncompromising, 
eccentric idealism (comparable to that of Parmenides), 
which is summed up in three propositions : — 

(1) The dtman is the knowing subject tvithin us. 
" In truth, Gargl, this imperishable one sees but is not 
seen, hears but is not heard, comprehends but is not com- 
prehended, knows but is not known. There is beside him 
none that sees, there is none that hears beside him, there 
is none that comprehends beside him, there is none that 
knows beside him. In truth, in this imperishable one is 
space inwoven and interwoven." * Here the above funda- 

1 Cband. 6. 1. 4. » Brih. 8. 8. 11. 


mental proposition is clearly expressed. At the same 
time two further propositions are inferred from it, which 
other passages abundantly confirm. 

(2) The dtman, as the knowing subject y is itself un- 
knowable. " Thou canst not see the seer of seeing, thou 
canst not hear the hearer of hearing," etc.^ " How could 
he know him through whom all this is known, how could 
he know the knower ? " ^ 

(3) The dtman is the sole reality. In it, as the above 
passage declares, space with all that it contains is inwoven 
and interwoven. " He who has seen, heard, comprehended 
and known the fttman, by him this entire universe is 
known." * " The universe is given up to him who knows 
the universe apart from the atman." * Only " where there 
is as it were duality does one see another," ^ etc. " There 
is however no second outside of him, no other distinct 
from him for him to see " : * — 

In the mind should this be perceived, 
Here there is no plurality anywhere ; 
From death to death is he led blindly, 
Who here gazes on a plurality.' 

These three thoughts are the kernel of the Upanishad 
teaching, and with it became permanently the innermost 
kernel of the entire religious and philosophical belief of 
India. This kernel however was eventually surrounded 
by a husk which, growing ever thicker as time advanced, 
concealed it in many ways, until finally on the one 
hand the kernel utterly perished and only the husk re- 
mained (the Sankhya), while on the other (the Ved&nta) an 
attempt was made to separate absolutely the two elements 
by distinguishing between a higher esoteric knowledge 
{jpard vidyd) and a lower exoteric {apard vidyd). This 

1 Brih. 3. 4. 2. 2 Brih. 2. 4. 14. » Brih. 2. 4. 5. * Bpih. 2. 4. 6. 
» Bpih. 2. 4. 14. 6 Brih. 4. 3. 23. ' Bpih. 4. 4. 19. 


process is quite intelligible. For the ideas of Y&jfiavalkhya, 
which depend upon immediate intuition, though they won 
a hearing in the consciousness of his contemporaries and 
of posterity, yet did not find this consciousness unoccupied, 
but already in the possession of two elements, to which 
they had to accommodate themselves. The fii-st was the 
tradition bequeathed by the past, the second was the em- 
pirical view of the universe and its orderly constitution 
in space, time and causal relations, which is natural to 
us alL The entire subsequent development with its 
phenomena often apparently inconsistent is completely 
explained by a gradually increasing acconmiodation to 
these two elements. This we propose to show briefly in 
the following pages for the diflFerent parts of the teaching 
of the Upanishads. 

3. Theology {Doctrine of Brahman or the Atman). 

The &tman is the knowing subject within us. This 
knowing subject is " the loftiest height of all that can be 
described as &tman " (sarvasya dtmanah pardyanam)} 
To this height, attained in the teaching of Y&jfiavalkhya, 
Indian thought has climbed, with a gradual intensifying 
of the subjective element, through conceptions oipurusha 
(man), prdna (life), dtrnan (self), to which were attached 
the more symbolical representations of the first principle 
of the universe as dkds'a (space), mana^ (will), dditya 
(sun), etc. In these conceptions the thought of the times 
preceding the Upanishads, and in part also of these times 
themselves, moves. Perhaps, therefore, it may be possible 
in the future to distinguish successfully those portions 
which belong to a period before the recognition of the 
fitman as knowing subject from those which, like all that 
succeeds, have come under the influence of the thought of 
Y&jnavalkhya. In the older texts the ultimate principle 

1 firih. 3. 9. 10. 


is still the purusha-prdria,^ the Tprdna^ ddiiya^ the 
dkds'a^ — "It is the S,kfi3'a from which all these living 
beings proceed, and into which they again return, the 
akas'a is older than they all, the akas'a is the ultimate 
starting-point." * Combinations also occur. For example, 
when the &tman (still transcendenbiUy conceived) is de- 
scribed as the ^^ prdnasya dirndl' and as mano-maya, 
prdna-sartray Ikd-rdpa, dkds'a'dtman ; * or when it is 
said : — " Brahman is life (prdna), Brahman is joy {kam = 
dnanda), Brahman is extension (kham = dkds'a)." ^ 

It is otherwise in the later texts. Now it is no longer 
the purusha that is the first principle, but the dtman that 
draws it from the primeval waters ; ^ no longer the dkdsa, 
but that which is in it ; ® no longer the prdriay but the 
hliUman^ the "unlimited," reached by prolonged and 
deepening insight into the nature of the prana, i.e. the 
knowing subject which comprehends everything in itself, 
nothing outside of itself: — "When no other (outside of 
self) is seen, no other is heard, no other is known, that 
is the infinite ; when he sees, hears or knows another, 
that is the finite." ® The revolution is very clearly seen 
when in Ait. 1 it is no longer t\it prdria'purusha^^ that 
makes its appearance as the ultimate principle, but the 
fttman, and the latter is then explained as the conscious- 
ness that comprehends all things in itself {jprajfid).^^ Still 
more clearly does it appear in Kaush. 3-4, where the 
equation '' prdna =prajnd" which is only intelligible as 
arising from a compromise between series of heterogeneous 
conceptions, is repeatedly emphasised. All these changes 
seem to have been carried out under the influence of the 

1 Ait. Ar. 2. 1-3. « Byih. 1. 1^, Cli&nd. 1. 2-3, 4. 3, Kaudi. 2. 

« Ch&nd. 3. < Chand. 1. 9. 1. 

» S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 3 (Chrmd. 3. 14). 

« Ch&nd. 4. 10. 5. ^ Ait. 1. 1. 

^ taamin yad antar, Chilnd. 8. 1 ; te yad antardj 8. 14. 

» Ch&nd. 7. 15-24. >« As formerly in Ait Ar. 2. 1-3. " Ait. 3. 


thought, in its first original freshness in the discourses 
of Yajnavalkhya, that the S,tman is the knowing subject 
which, itself unknowable, is conceived as sustaining all 
things in itself. How entirely this thought dominated 
the whole succeeding development of Indian theology, a 
few examples may show. 

( 1 ) The dtman is the knowing subject. He is "the spirit, 
consisting of knowledge, vijndnamaya, shining within in 
the heart," ^ the light that enlightens when sun, moon, stars 
and fire are extinguished,* the " light of lights," * the light 
"which is here within in men," and at the same time 
shines on yonder side of heaven in the highest, the highest 
of all worlds,* the "supreme light," into which the soul 
enters in deep sleep, and " issues forth in its own form." * 
And of this light of consciousness, which first invests all 
with intelligibility, we are to think when it is said : — 

There no sun shines, nor moon, nor glimmer of stftrs, 
Nor yonder lightning, earthly fire is quenched; 
AU other light is inferior to him who alone gives light, 
The whole universe shines with his brightness.* 

This light that alone is self-shining is the "seer" 
{yipas'cit), who, according to 2. 18, neither is born 
nor dies, the " all-beholder " {paridra^htar)J the " spec- 
tator " (sdkshin), as the &tman is so frequently called in 
the later Upanishads.® 

(2) The dtman as the knowing subject can never become 
an object for uSy and is therefore itself unknowable. 
" Thou canst not see the seer of seeing," etc.® Whatever 
conception we may form of it, it is always said : — neti, 
neti^ " it is not so, it is not so." ^^ It is that " before which 

1 Brih. 4. 3. 7 f. » Brih. 4. 8. 2-6. » Bph. 4. 4. 16, Mu^d. 2. 2. 9 

* ChAnd. 3. 13. 7. » Ch&nd. 8. 3. 4, 8. 12. 3. 

• Kft^h. 6. 15, S'vet. 6. 14, Mund. 2. 2. 10. ' PrasTia 6. 5. 
« From S'vet. 6. 14 and onwards. • Bpih. 3. 4. 2. 
»» Brih. 4. 2. 4, 4. 4. 22, 4. 6. 15, 3. 9. 26, 2. 3. 6. 


words and thought recoil, not finding it ; " ^ " not known 
by the wise, known by the ignorant." * 

Not by speech, not by thought, 

Not by sight is he comprehended ; 

**He is," by this word alone 

And in no other way is he comprehended.' 

The S^tman therefore can only be defined negatively. 
He is " not big and not slender, not short and not long, 
not red and not fluid, not cloudy and not dark, not wind 
and not ether, not adhesive, without taste or smell, with- 
out eye or ear, without speech, without understanding, 
without vital force and without breath, without mouth and 
without size, without inner or outer;* invisible, incom- 
prehensible, without pedigree, colourless, without eyes or 
ears, without hands or feet." * The threefold definition 
also as " being thought and bliss " {sac'-cid-dnanda), by 
which a later age characterised the &tman, and to the 
separate elements of which reference is frequently made 
even in the older Upanishads,* is essentially only negative. 
For the " being " of the &tman is no being as revealed in 
experience, and in an empirical sense is rather a not- 
being ; and similarly the " thought " is only the negation 
of all objective being, and the " bliss " the negation of all 
suffering, as this exists in deep dreamless sleep. On the 
observation of which last state, as was shown,^ this de- 
scription was originally based. 

(3) The dtman is the sole reality {satyam^ scUyasya 
satyam); for it is the metaphysical unity which is 
manifested in all empirical plurality. This unity 
however is not to be found elsewhere than in our- 
selves, in our consciousness, in which, as with splendid 
elaboration Brih. 3. 8 shows, the whole of space with all 
that it contains, with earth atmosphere and heaven, is 

1 Taitt. 2. 4. « Kena 11. » KAth. 6. 12. * Bph. 8. 8. 8. 

« Mu9d 1. 1. 6. • Wfp. pp. 128-146. ^ mp, p. 142 f. 


"inwoven and interwoven." Therefore with the know- 
ledge of the &tman (the reference here is not to knowledge 
in an empirical sense) all is known,^ as with the compre- 
hension of the instrument all its notes are comprehended. 
He is abandoned by men, gods and all worlds, who knows 
a universe outside of the Stman.' All besides him exists 
only " as it were " (iva). There is really no plurality,* 
and no becoming, " change is a mere matter of words, a 
simple name."* The later Upanishads breathe the same 
spirit; the entire universe should be immersed in God 
{i.e. the atman);* nature is a mere mdyd (illusion);'^ 
and the striking remark is added that no demonstration 
of the existence of a duality is ever possible, and that 
only the timeless &tman (the knowing subject) admits of 

4. Cosmology and Psychology 

Pantheism. — Metaphysical knowledge impugns the 
existence of any reality outside of the fitman, i.e. the 
consciousness. The empirical view on the contrary 
teaches that a manifold universe exists external to us. 
From a combination of these antagonistic propositions 
originated the doctrine which in all the Upanishads 
occupies the largest space, and which may conveniently 
be described as pantheism (though in its origin »very 
different from the pantheism of Europe), — the universe is 
real, and yet the Stman remains the sole reality, for the 
Atman is the universe. This identity of universe and 
&tman is already taught by Yajnavalkhya (who is as little 
able as Parmenides to avoid placing himself again 
temporarily at the empirical standpoint), when he 

1 Brih. 2. 4. 6, Chand. 6. 1. 2, Muj?d. 1. 1. 3. 

« Brih. 2. 4. 7-9. * » Brih. 2. 4. 6. 

* Brih. 4. 4. 19, K4th. 4 10-11. » Ch&nd. 6. 1. 4 f., cp. 8. 1. 3. 

• Is'i 1. ' S'vet. 4. 10. » Nriaiinhott. 9. 


celebrates the atman as the antarydmin;^ or when he 
describes how the ^tman upholds and maintains sun and 
mooD, heaven and earth, the entire universe and its 
frame;* or when the knowing subject in us is made 
suddenly to expand into the universe around us on 
every side.^ The later passages are numerous and do 
not need to be repeated here, which identify the S-tman as 
the infinitely small within us with the infinitely great 
outside of us; and in this way the identity of the 
two, the &tman and the universe, is incessantly em- 
phasised, as though it were a matter which stood greatly 
in need of emphasis. 

Cosmogony. — None the less the equation " atman = 
universe" remained very obscure. The one &tman and 
the manifold universe, often as they were brought 
together, always fell asunder again. A natural step 
therefore was taken, when more and more as time went 
on instead of this unintelligible identity the familiar 
empirical category of causality made its appearance, by 
virtue of which the &tman was represented as the cause 
chronologically antecedent, and the universe as its effect, 
its creation ; and thus a connection with the ancient Vedic 
cosmogony became possible. Such a connection is not yet 
to be traced in Brih. 1. 4, where the cosmological form 
merely serves to explain the dependence of all the 
phenomena of the universe on the atman. It is present 
however in all probability in Chand. 3. 19, 6. 2, Taitt. 2. 
6, Ait. 1. 1, etc. It is characteristic at this point that 
the §,tman, after having evolved the universe from himself, 
enters himself- into it as soul. " That deity resolved : — 
* Verily into these three deities (heat, water, food) I will 
enter with this living self " ;* " After he had created the 
universe he entered into it";* '* He reflected: — *How 

1 Brih. 3. 7. « Brih. 3. 8. 9. » Brih. 4. 2. 4. 

* Ch&nd. 6. 3. 2. » Taitt 2. 6. 


could this subsist without me ? ' . . . accordingly he cleft 
here the crown of the head, and entered in through this 
gate."^ The individual soul maintains even at this stage 
its identity with the &tman. It is not, like everything 
else, a created work of the atman ; but it is the &tman 
himself, as he enters into the world that he has created. 
A distinction between the supreme and the individual soul 
does not even yet exist. 

Theism. — Theism is a further and chronologically later 
stage of development, which first arises at the point at 
which the supreme and individual souls appear contrasted 
with one another. This was early anticipated ; * but later 
on the individual soul became more and more definitely 
opposed to the supreme soul as " another." ' At the same 
time a theory of predestination was established, as an 
inevitable consequence of theism : — 

Only by him whom he chooses is he comprehended ; 
To him the &tman reveals his nature.^ 

The chief monument of this theism is the S'veta^'vatara 
Upanishad. It must be remembered however that here 
all the earlier stages of development, the idealistic, 
pantheistic and cosmogonistic, continue to exist side by 
side ; as indeed generally in the religious sphere the old is 
accustomed to assert its time-honoured right by the side 
of the new, the fruits of which are readily seen in far- 
reaching inner contradictions. 

Atheism and Deism (S&nkhya and Yoga Systems). — 
With the recognition of a real universe external to the 
&tman, and the division of the latter into the supreme 
soul and a multitude of individual souls, the preliminary 
conditions of the later Saiikhya system were satisfied. 

1 Ait. 1. 3. 11. 2 By passages like Bfih. 4. 4. 22, Kaush. 3. 8 {ad fin,). 

» First in K&th. 1. 3, then S'vet. 4. 6-7, 6. 8, etc 
< Kath. 2. 23 (Mu^id. 3. 2. 3). 


For that division necessarily led to the destruction of the 
one branch, viz. : — the supreme soul, since from the very 
beginning this had in reality derived its vitality from the 
existing fact of individual souls. When powers of creation 
and movement were assigned to matter itself God became 
superfluous, and there were left only prakriti and the 
multitude of individual purushctSy — the precise assump- 
tions of the Sankhya system, which admits probably of 
philosophical explanation in no other way than that we 
have followed. A reconstruction of theism was attempted 
in the Yoga system ; which in harmony with its later 
origin builds upon the basis of the S&nkhya system, very 
little fitted as that was for the purpose, a yoga practice 
which depends upon the teaching of the Upanishads. 
While then it certainly reintroduces the idea of God, it 
finds it impossible to give to the conception any real 
vitality on such a basis as this. So that this theory 
(practically, if not on the ground of its origin) may be 
fitly placed in a line with the Deism of later philosophy. 

5. Eschatology {Transmigration and Emancipation) 

In proportion as Brahman usurped the place of 
the ancient Vedic gods, and was interpreted in harmony 
with the idea of the &tman, the hope also which finds 
expression in the Kigveda of entering in after death to 
the gods was transformed in course of time into a hope 
of attaining "community of world," "conmiunity of 
life" with Brahman, or later on with the &tman. At 
the same time the idea of the S.tman also, by virtue of 
the continued influence of that which it had displaced, 
was at first still conceived in a transcendental way, and 
it is said : — " He is my soul (&tman) ; to him, to this 
soul, shall I departing hence enter in." ^ If however the 
S.tman is really my soul, my self, no entering in is 

1 S'atap. Br. 10. 6. 3. 2. 


necessary, but only the knowledge of this fact, in order 
to become partaker of a full and complete deliverance. 
He who has recognised that aham brahma asmi, " I am 
Brahman," he already is, not will be delivered ; he sees 
through the illusion of plurality, knows himself as the 
sole real, as the substance of all that exists, and is thereby 
exalted above all desire {kdma\ for " what can he desire 
who possesses all ? " ^ This also Yfijfiavalkhya is the first 
to teach in the words : — " He who without desire, free 
from desire, his desire laid to rest, is himself his own 
desire, his vital spirits do not journey forth. But he is 
Brahman, and to Brahman he ascends." * 

Deliverance is not effected by the knowledge of the 
&tman, bat thk knowledge is itself abeadjr ddytyerance. 
He who knows himself as the fitman has thereby recog- 
nised the world of plurality and the desire occasioned by 
plurality to be an illusion, which can no longer lead him 
astray. His body is no longer his body, his actions no 
longer his actions ; whether he still continues to live 
and to act or not is, like everything else, a matter of 
indifference.' But the semblance of empirical knowledge 
persists, and it is a consequence of this that deliverance 
appears to be first attained in all its completeness after 
the dissolution of the body. And a still more far-reaching 
influence of the empirical mode of thought combined with 
the traditions of the past caused this internal deliverance 
from the world, the fruit of the emancipating knowledge 
of the &tman, to be represented as an ascent from the 
world to a transcendent distance, in order there for the 
first time to become united with Brahman, with the 
fitman. The theory therefore was formed of the way 
of the gods {devaydna\ on which the emancipated were 
led after death through a series of bright stages to 
union with Brahman, whence "there is no return."* 

1 Qau4ap. 1. 9. s Brih. 4. 4. 6. > Is-ft 2. « ChAnd. 4. 16. 6. 


What becomes however of those who die without 
having known themselves as the &tman ? The BrS^hmanas 
set before them for their good or evil deeds a recompense 
of joy or suffering in the other world. To the evil-doers 
was assigned also " recurrent death " (punarmrityu). In 
contrast with the immortality {amritatvam^ literally the 
"no more being able to die") of the perfected there 
remained for others the prospect of enduring in the other 
world together with other misfortune a " renewed necessity 
of death " ; and this, since it has to do with those who 
have already died, is not to be thought of as experienced 
in the body, but indefinitely as a state of sufferings, 
which are in store in the other world as a recompense 
for evil-doing. It is the Upanishads first — ^and again 
for the first time by the mouth of Y&jnavalkhya — that 
transfer this retribution with its threat of recurrent death 
from an imaginary future into the present, since they 
place before it a renewed earthly existence. This is ti»B 
origin of the theory of the Indiaoi doctrine of tmnsmigra- 
tion {mxfhsara), whioh does not rest on snperstitiona ideas 
of the return of the dead in other forms, such as are found 
amongst other peoples and even in India itself, but as the 
texts prove, on observation of the variety of the character 
and &te of individual men, which were explained as 
resulting from the actions of a previous existenca '' In 
truth a man becomes good by good works, evil by evil." * 
" Verily according as he acts, according as he lives, so is 
he born ; he who does good is bom good, he who does 
evil is born evil, he becomes righteous by righteous works, 
evil by evil . . . according to the work which he does, so is 
he rewarded." ^ 

These words of Y&jnavalkhya (the oldest in which a 
doctrine of transmigration is found) substitute a recom- 
pense in this world for one in the other, and this takes 

1 Brih. 3. 2. 13. « Brih. 4. 4. 5. 


place by means of a re-birth on earth, apparently immedi- 
ately after death. ^ While this theory met with accept- 
ance, the ancient Vedic conception of a recompense for all 
alike, good and evil, in the other world held its ground 
by its side ; and finally the two were combined in the 
doctrine of a double retribution, the first in the other 
world, lasting ydvat sampdtam "as long as a remnant 
(of works) remains," -^ after which everything is once again 
recompensed by means of a renewed existence upon earth. 
This recompense of those already recompensed contradicts 
so entirely the whole conception of recompense, that it 
is impossible to understand it otherwise than as a com- 
bination of ideas derived from various sources. This is 
the point of view of the "doctrine of the five fires" 
(panc'dgnividyd),^ which constructs, on the analogy of 
the way of the gods (devaydna) that leads to Brahman 
without return, a way of the fathers {pitriydna) that 
leads to the moon and then back again to earth ; and this 
was subsequently still further modified,* and has become 
the permanent basis of the whole of the later development. 
The clothing of the doctrine of emancipation in 
empirical forms involved as a consequence the conceiving 
of emancipation, as though it were an event in an empirical 
sense, from the point of view of causality, as an effect 
which might be brought about or accelerated by appro- 
priate means. Now emancipation consisted on its external 
phenomenal side : — 

(1) In the removal of the consciousness of plurality. 

(2) In the removal of all desire, the necessary con- 
sequence and accompaniment of that consciousness. 

To produce these two states artificially was the aim 
of two characteristic manifestations of Indian culture. 

1 cp. the illustration of the caterpillar, Bj-ih. 4. 4. 3. 

« Ch&nd. 6. 10. 5. » Ch&nd. 5. 3-10 (Brih. C. 2). 

« Eaush. 1. 


(1) Of the yoga^ which by withdrawing the organs 
from the objects of sense and concentrating them on the 
inner self endeavoured to shake itself free from the world 
of plurality and to secure union with the &tman. 

(2) Of the sannydsa^ which by the "casting off 
from oneself" of home, possessions, family and all that 
stimulates desire seeks laboriously to realise that freedom 
from all the ties of earth, in which a deeper conception 
of life in other ages and countries also has recognised the 
supreme task of earthly existence, and will probably con- 
tinue to recognise throughout all future time. 



Aditya, 115. See also sun. 

agnihotram, 63, 124 f., 375. 

agni Vais'vdnara, 375. 

aham hrahma oimi, 39. 

ahai'ikura, 241 ff., 248, 261, 264. 

Okfis'a, 151 f., 194, 401 f. ; as symbol of 
Brahman, 111 if., 118. 

ftnanda, 126 f., 156; as symbol of 
Brahman, 140 ff. 

dnandamaya &tman, 97 f., 144 f., 283. 

Anaximander, 225. 

aAgas of the yoga, 385 f . 

annamaya dtman, 97, 144, 146. 

antary&min, 108, 119, 169, 174, 206 f., 


Ara^yaka, 2 ff., 120, 396. 

Aristotle, 99, 189, 255. 

Asanam, 387 f . 

ascetici8m,61, 65-70, 373. ^Ma^so tapas. 

as^ramas, 4, 60 f., 367 ff., 373 f . 

astronomical conceptions, 218 f. 

as^yamedha, 121. 

as'vattha, 203. 

Atharva Upanishads, 7 ff., 26. 

atheism, 238, 407. 

fttman, 14f ., 38 f., 79, 82, 108, 152, 157ff., 
172 ff., 285 ff., 342 ff., 355 ff., 373 f ., 
396 ff., 402 01; the &tman as first 
principle, 86 f. ; different dtmans, 
94 ff. ; the &tman and the creation, 
182 ff.; the fttman and the organs, 
865 ff. £1^ alio Brahman. 

Atman VaisTdnara, 90 ff. 
avidy&, 74, 77, 158 f., 227. 254. 

Bfidar&ya^a, 27 ff., 54, 100, 180, 184, 
192, 220 f., 317. 

Bahiidaka, 377, 379. 


Benares, 380. 

bh^man, 81, 94, 151. 

bh4r Ihuvah tvar^ 217. 

body, the gross, 283 f . ; the subtle, 
280 ff. 

brahmac'&rin, 4 f., 367, 369 ff. 

Brahman, 38 ff., 75, 79, 163, 323, 335 f ., 
342, 359, 390, 395, 401 f., 408 f.; 
Bridiman as unity, 85 ff. ; definitions 
of Brahman, 87 ff. ; symbols of 
Brahman, 99 ff., 117 f.; Brahman 
as being, etc., 126 ff. ; as conscious- 
ness, 132 ff.; as bliss, 140ff. ; 
unknowableness of Brahman, 
146 ff. ; Brahman and the universe, 
157 ff. ; Brahman as the psychical 
principle, 166 ff. ; as personal god, 
172 ff.; as creator, 180 ff.; as pre- 
server and ruler, 202 ff. ; as Pro- 
vidence, 211 ff.; as destroyer of 
the imiverse, 219 ff. See alio 

Brahm&n, 198 ff., 247, 331. 

Br&hma^as. 2 ff., 229, 324 f., 334, 345, 



buddhi, 201, 246 ff., 261, 264. 
Buddhism, 51, 140, 255, 341. 


Causality, 154, 356, 406. 

chronology, 388. 

c'it, 156 ; as symbol of Brahman, 132 ff. 

Colebrooke, 33 ff. 

cosmical principle, Brahman as the, 

159 ff. 
cosmogony, cosmogonism, 237!., 246, 

257 f., 406 f. 
cosmography, 214 ff. 
cosmology, 52, 180 ff., 405 ff. 

Dante, 320. 

death, 248!., 356!., 381; renewed 

death, 326 ff., 832, 357, 410!. 
deep sleep, 305 ff. See aUo sushupti. 
deism, 238 !., 407. 
Descartes, 160, 244. 
determinism, 209. 
deva, 173, 175. 
devayfina, 100, 334 ff., 359!., 390, 409, 

dhllrai^a, 389!. 
dhyMro, 388, 390ff. 
dream-sleep, 296, 302 ff. 
dress, o! the Sannyasin, 378 !. 
dualism, 244 ff. 

Earth, as an element, 191 ff. 
elements, 186, 189 ff., 234, 376. 
emancipation, 253 ff., 338 ff., 363, 382 !., 

408 f. 
Epicharmus, 273 note, 
eschatology, 52, 358, 408 ff.; ancient 

Vedic eschatology, 317 ff. 
ethics of the Upanishads, 52, 364 ff. 
evolution, 246 ffl 

Fire, as an element, 191 ff. 
five fires, doctrine o! the, 328, 333!., 
359!., 411. 

!ood, o! the Sanny&sin, 379 !. 
!reedom o! the will, 46 !., 208 ff. 

Ganges, 214. 

Q&yatrt, 310, 376; as symbol of 

Brahman, 122!. 
Goethe, 117, 316. 
grihastha, 4!., 367, 371 f., 376. 
gmsias, 234, 242, 246, 260 ff., 391. 

Heart, 286 ff. 

heavenly regions, 217. 

Heracleitus, 225, 244. 

Herodotus, 316. 

Hillebrandt, 149. 

Him&laya, 214. 

hirapyagarbha, 187, 190, 198 ff., 229, 

247, 250. 
hit&ti, 288 ff., 306. See alio sushumnl 
Homer, 71. 

Idealism, 97, 160, 162, 172, 229!., 237, 

257, 399 !. 
ignorance, 74-86, 130. 
illusion, 48, 254, 362 !. See also mfty^. 
immortality, 45 !., 326. 
individual souls, 258 ff. 
Indra,12,94!., 173. 
indriyas, 241 ff., 248, 263, 270 ff. 
Indus, 214. 

inorganic nature, 186 ff. 
Isl&m, 341. 
is-vara, 159, 172!., 176, 260, 384. 

Jtva fitman, 268. 

Ealpa, 220. 

Kant, 40 ff., 46!., 76, 134, 208 !., 

Kapila, 200, 239. 
karma, 263, 334. 
karmak&Qda, 47. 



■knowledge, in relation to Brahman, 

fkoB'a, 97,283. 
Kshatriyas, 17 ff., 120, 340 £., 396 f. 

liiiigam, 241 ff., 282. 

Id&dhyandinaa, 349. 

xnanas, 89, 99 f., 241 ff., 248, 261, 263 f., 

270 ff., 291, 389 f., 401 ; as symbol 

of Brahman, 111 f., 115 f. 
manomaja &tman, 58, 97!., 144, 271, 

Manu, 317. 
m&ya, 42, 46, 74, 178, 226 ff., 384, 405. 

See alio illusion, 
monotheism, 175. 
moon, 218, 292, 335 ff., 359 f., 393, 

mora, morse, 387, 390 f., 393 ff. 
Muktikft, Canon of the, 33, 35. 
muni, 66 f., 368. 

N&rada, 57, 92. 
neti neti, 82, 119, 147, 149 f., 156, 392, 

New Testament, 46 f., 49. 

Occupation, of the Sanny&sin, 381 f. 

Old Testament, 47, 50, 160. 

om, 59, 100 f., 116, 121, 376, 879, 384 f., 

390 ff, 394. 
omnipotence of the &tman, 205. 
omnipresence of the &tman, 204. 
organic nature, 195 ff. 
organisms, 291 ff. 
organs of the soul, 263 ff. ; of the &tman, 

265 ff. 
Oupnek'hat,33, 36f. 

Pantheism, 160, 237, 245, 257 f., 406 f. 

Paramahamsa, 377, 379. 

Parmenides, 41, 74, 133, 227, 244, 405. 

Patanjali, 384. 

pessimism, 140. 

physiology, 283 ff. 

pitriy&na, 62 f., 334 ff., 369, 373, 390, 

planets, 219. 

Plato, 41 f., 74, 163 f., 189, 227, 293. 
plurality, 44, 156, 363. 
Praj&pati, 85 f., 95 f., 182 f., 191, 218, 

293, 331, 375. 
pr&jn&tman, 135, 139, 299, 307. 
praJqiti, 161, 234 f., 238, 240 ff., 269 ff., 

pr&^a, 76, 89, 92 f., 100 f., 124 f., 139, 

218, 221, 248 f., 268, 276 ff., 291, 

385, 394, 401 f.; as symbol of 

Brahman, 101 ff., 118, 144. 
prll^as, 87, 130, 263, 269 f.; varieties 

of, 264, 274 ff. 
pr&9lignihotram, 63, 124 f., 380. 
pr&^amaya &tman, 97 f ., 144, 283. 
pr&n^y&ma, 385 f., 388 f. 
pratikam, 99 f. 
predestination, 210. 
Providence, Brahman as, 211 ff. 
psychology, 52, 256 ff., 405 ff. 
purusha, 139, 161, 188, 208, 238, 240 ff., 

252, 286, 311, 384, 401 f., 408; 

puruflha in the sun, 87, 114 f., 121. 
Pythagoras, 11. 

Rajas, 242, 246, 250, 252 f. 

R&m&ya^a, 214. 

realism, 160, 162, 172. 

reality, 157 ff, 355 f., 400. See alio 

recompense, retribution, 259, 329,331 f., 

336, 410 f. 

Sac'cid&nanda, 126 ff., 146, 404. 
sacri'fice, 61ff. 



S akalya, 88. 

S'&kh&B, 3, 5 f., 19, 21, 23, 33. 

sam&dhi, 392 ff. 

sani&na, 279. 

sams&ra, 258, 410. 

S'ankara, 10, 27, 29 ff., 72, 160, 166, 

180!., 186, 221, 223, 266, 313, 

S&iikhya, 140, 193, 200 f., 236, 239 ff., 

260 ff., 264, 384, 400, 407 f. 
Saany&sa, 363, 373 ff., 383, 412. 
Sanny&sa Upanishads, 9 f ., 374. 
sanny^n, 6, 367, 372 f., 376, 379 ff. 
s^fistras, 121. 

sat, 166 ; sat and asat, 128 ff. 
sattvam, 242, 246, 250, 252 f. 
8at3'am, 75, 162, 404; satyam and 

(uatyamj 128 ff. See (Ueo reality. 
S&yana, 2 note, 75, 199. 
Schopenhauer, 11, 49, 71, 360. 
sheath, 393. See also kos^a. 
Siva UpanishadB, 10. 
sleep, 248 f., 297 ff. 

soul, states of the, 296 ff. See also fttman. 
space. See fikfts^a. 
Spinoza, 96, 160. 
subtle body, sUkshmam rarkamf 263 f ., 

280 ff. 
sun, 218, 393, 401; as symbol of 

Brahman, 113 ff. 
su8humn&,284, 290, 392, 394. 
sushupti, 296 ff. See also deep sleep, 
symbols of Brahman, 99 ff. 

Tamas, 242, 246, 250, 252 f. 

tanm&tras, 241 ff., 248. 

tapas, 65-70, 217, 364 ff., 37a 

iat tvam on, 127, 148, 170. 

theism, 78, 160, 175 ff., 212 f., 238, 246, 

theology, 52, 64 ff., 401 ff. 
thread, sacred, 377. 
time, 163 f. 
transmigration, 292, 313 ff., 323 ff., 408, 

410 f 

trida^dam, 378. 

turtya,* 122 f., 178 f., 297, 290 1, 

309 ff. 
two ways, doctrine of the, 328, 334 f. 

Ud&na, 280. 

udgitha, 105 f., 114, 121. 

uktham, 56, 121. 

universe, creation of the, 182 ff., 196 f.; 
universe and the fttman, 188 f.; 
195 f., 202. 

unknowableness of Brahman, 82, 146 ff., 

unreality of the universe, 226 ff. 

up&dhis, 256, 261. 

upanayanam, 70. 

upanishad, meaning of the term, 10 ff., 
56 ; 75, 89, 130, 397. 

Upanishads, of the three older Vedas, 
5ff. ; origin and history, 16 ff.; 
classification of extant, 22 ff. ; funda- 
mental conception of, 38 ff. ; relation 
to philosophy, 40ff. ; to religion, 
44 ff. 

Vais'vftnara, 299 f . ; vais'vftnara sacri- 
fice, 375. See ai«> Agni Vais'v&nara. 

vftnaprastha, 4 f., 367, 372 f., 376. 

v&yu, 194 ; as symbol of Brahman, 101, 
107 ff., 119. 

Veda, 46 ff., 65 ff., 76, 370 f.; Vedas, 
381, 391. 

Ved&nta, 1 ff., 21, 52 f., 56, 59, 72, 163, 
219 f., 239, 253, 256, 315, 396 f, 

Ved&nta Upanishads, 9. 

Vedic eschatology, 317 ff. 

vidyft, 315, 400. 

vijfi&namaya fttman, 82, 85, 97 f ., 144 f., 
169, 288, 403. 

VishjCLU Upanishads^ 10. 

Voltaire, 296. 

vyftna, 279. 



Wakiug state of the soul, 296 it'., 

300 f. 
water, as an element, 190 f. 
Weber, 340. 

Xenopbanes, 133, 173, 316. 

Yajnavalkhya, 7, 21, 79 ff., 89 f., 133 ff., 
147, 214, 228, 230 If., 236 f., 294, 
332 ff., 344, 347 f., 360, 372, 396, 
398f., 401ff. 

Yama, 319f. 

yoga, 86, 1 16, 239, 248 ff., 264, 309, 363, 
381, 382 ff., 392, 395, 407 f., 412. 

Yoga Upanisbads, 9. 




The Index includes all passages quoted or translated in the text, and all of which 
important illustrative use is made. 

Amfif.Mfidu— continued 


6 . . . .385, 387f. 



16 . 


19 . 

22 . 

24 . 

Aitareya Aranyaka 

Ami^y. Adhy. Khantja 
11. 1-2 


. 118 



121, 402 



. 199 

III. 2.6. 



Aitareya Brdhm. 
6 . . 32 . . 

. 187 

8 . . 28 . 

. 108 

Aitareya Upaniahad 

Adhy. Kha9<}a 

I. 402 

1 . . 185, 189, 191, 402 
1-2 .... 267 

2 211 

3 . 11 . . .186,407 
3 . 12 . . 196,299 
11, 12 . . . . 172 

II. 1 292 

2-3 293 

4 317 

III. . . .118, 139, 402 

2 272 

3 . 169,196,199,234,292 
4 359 

27 . 

28 f. 



4 . 



3 . 

4 . 

Amxitabiiulu Atharvaveda 

. 390 KA^^a Anuv&km 



34 . 
19 . 





. 374 


. 225 

217, 224 




Brihaddranyaka— c 





Adhy&ya Brfihmana 




. . 7,8 

. 183 

I. 3 . 

. 22 

. 197 


. 21 

. 229 

4 . 

, , 

. 188, 406 


. 36, 38 


4 . 

. 1 

. 265 


. 9 

269, 286 

4 . 

. 2 

. 354 


. 34 

. 229 

4 . 

. 3-4 

198, 293 


. 44 

. 343 

4 . 

. 6 

174, 198,247 



. 32 

. 323 

4 . 

. 7 

134, 165, 171 


. 103,107,183 

185, 195, 230 



. 66 

266, 292, 296 



. 377 

4 . 

. 10 

39,62, 175 



. 325 

189, 317 
345, 396 


4 . 

. 11- 

13 . . 174 


• • • < 

. 285 

4 . 

. 11- 


. 198 



. 195 

4 . 
4 . 

. 15 
. 16 

. 327 
. 15 


5 . 

. 2 

. 125,327 



. 14 


5 . 

. 3 

. 273 


. 35 

. 220 

5 . 

. 4 

. 102 


. 88 

. 192 

5 . 

. 13 

. 190 



. 82 

. 150 

5 . 
5 . 

. 16 
. 17 

62, 327 
. 294 

Bhagavad Gitd 

5 . 

. 21- 


. 107 


. 13 


5 . 

. 23 

85, 163, 385 

. 5 

. 366 

6 . 

. 3 

75, 130, 165 


. 6 

. 282 



. 17-19 . 

. 220 

II. 1 . 


14, 17f., 24, 38 


. 7 

. 220 

87, 89, 397 


. 17 

. 136 

. 5-8 
. 16 

. 187 
. 167, 297 


. 17-20 . . 136 


. • • < 

. 389 

. 18- 

19 . . 21)8 


• • . 

. 390 

. 19 

. 288, 306 f. 


• . . 

. 392 

. 20 

75, 130, 162 



. 287 

164, 167, 232 


• . • 

. 392 

2 . 

. 1 

. 283 



. 390 

2 . 

3 . 

. 3f. 

. 2Gi) 
. 118 


3 . 

. 1 

. 129 

Adb3rftya Brfihrna^a 

3 . 

. 6 

. 147 



• • . 

. 122 

4 . 

, , 

. 1G7 


. 1 

. 221 

4 . 

. 1 

. 372 


. 7 

. 327 

4 . 

. 6 

14, 42, 43, 74 


. 2-6 

. 269, 273 

157, 257 


. 12-16 

. 174 

4 . 

. 5,6 

; . 

. 400 




Bfihaddranyaka— continued 

Adhy&ya Br&hmaiia 


A«lhyftya Brfihnia^a 


II. 4 

. 6, 7-9 . 

. 405 



. 187 

. 6 

. 43 

3-23 108,176,257 

. 7f. . 

43, 234 


. 160 

. 7-9 76, 167, 231 


. US 

. 10 

. 55 f. 


. 270 

. 11 

. 134, 266 


, , 


. 12 

79, 81, 166 



. 151 

201, 349 



. 147,404 

. 13 

. 307 




. 14 168 

231 f., 400 


6 , 


. 207 



. 68,327 


. 1-7 

. 269 


5 , 

. 1-10 , 

. 187 


11 80, 133, 399 


. 15 

. 232 



. 174 


. 18 

. 171, 196 



. 401 

6 . 

. 19 . 

. 161 



. 88f. 

III. 1 


. 123 



. 208 


. 2 

. 370 



. 287 


. 3-6 . 

. 269 



. . 217 



. 216 



. 287 


7,6 . 

. 288 





. 1-9 

. 282 



. 126 


. 2 

. 276 




. 126 


. 2-9 

. 270 





. 10 

327, 360 



. 273 

2 . 

. 11 

. 349 




. 71 


. 12 

. 349 




. 347 


. 13 

330, 410 





> • . . 

216, 357 



. 288,306 


. 1 

. 370 


4 i 

», 147, 161 


. 2 

108, 327 



• • 




. 12 


• • • 

. 133, 170 



. 403 


. 1 

. . 257 


7 U 

)8, 232, 298 


. 2 

80, 141 


400, 403 



. 403 


• • 

. 167 



. 299 


. 14 

18, 353, 355 


9, 12f. 

. 308 

368, 373 



. 302 


. 1 ( 

i8, 141, 257 


9-18, V 

»-33. 298 

294, 372 



. 80 


. 11 

9, 174, 406 


10,36 . 

. 808 


. 1-2 

. 89 



. 808 


. . 2 

. 108 


11-16 , 

. 267 

7 , 

. 8 

. 206 



. 275 







^aAra— continued 

Brfthniaua page 

Adliy&ya Br&hmana 


3 . 

16 . , 308 


6 . .13 

. 130, 165 

3 . 

16, 18 . .301 

5 . 

. 13, 14 

. 349 

3 . 

19-33 . 142, 144 

6 . 


. 147 



1 . 


. 166 

3 . 

20 288, 303, 305 

2 . 


. 365 

8 . 

21 f. . .'304 

4 . 

. 14 

. 360 

3 . 

23 . 136, 400 

6 . 


. 115 

3 . 

23-30 . . 167 

6 . 

. 1 

. 131 

3 . 

23-31 . . 80 

6 . 

. 2-3 

. 218 

3 . 

31,32 . . 232 

9 . 

. 116 

3 . 

32 140, 204, 309 

10 . 


. 357 

3 . 

33 . . 146 

14 . 

. • 

. 123, 165 

3 . 

37-38 . . 303 

16 . 

, , 

. 116, 358 


71, 136 


1 . 

. 7-13 

. 104 

If. . . 136 

2 . 


. 328 

2 . 80, 349 

2 . 



2-3 . .286 

2 . 


. 67 

. 2-6 . .330 

2 . 


. 369 

3 . 282,411 

2 . 

. 8 

. 18 

3, 4 77, 137, 145 

2 . 


. 333 

4 . . 197 

2 . 



5 209, 281, 410 

2 . 

. 16-16 

. 218 

5-6 . . 282 

2 . 



6 . . 409 

3 . 


11, 70 

6-7 . . 348 

4 . 

. 6f. . 

. 268 

8-9 . .289 

4 . 

10-11 . 

. 278 

8-21 . . 24 

10 . . 84 


. 11-12 . . 77 

Prap&thaka Khanda 

12-13 . . 360 


1 . 


. 16 

16-17 . . 360 

2 . 


. 269 

16 .403 

3 . 

. 2 

. 276 

. 17 . . 216 



. 141 

18 . 138, 267 

9 . 

. 1 11 

2, 222, 401 

19 44, 167 f., 162 



232, 400, 405 

10 . 

. 9-11 

. 286 

. 20 . . 154 

11 . 

. 4-7 

. 286 

.21 . .68 

11 . 

. 6 

. 102 

22 60, 147, 170 


23 . 


. 68 

170, 205, 233 

23 . 

. 1 60, 

367 f., 371 f. 

287, 294, 346 




. 114 

353, 368, 373 

11 . 

, , 

. 137 

4 . 

. 23 . 72,365 

11 . 

. 3 

. 138 

4 . 

. 25 . . 147 

11 . 

. 6 

11, 70 

4 . 

66 . . 136 

12 . 

. . 

. • 122 




Prap&thaka Khand 


Prapft^haka Khanda 


III. 12 . 

1 . . 376 

V. 10 . 

. 1-3 

. 218 

12 . 

7-9 . .112f. 


. 5 

. 336, 410 

13 . 

1-5 275,287,289 


. 7 

. 337 

13 . 

7 . 169, 403 


. 9 

. 366 

13 . 

7-8 . 116 


, , 

. 91 

14 . 

1 16, 162, 180 

11 , 

. 5 

. 366 

14 . 

2 . 163, 168 


. 7 

. 71, 370 

14 . 

3 .162f. 


12 . 

. 18 

14 . 

4 .258, 355 f. 


18 . 

. 397 

16, 17 . 

. 63, 123 


4 . 

. 17,28,63 

17 . 

. 365 

116, 215 

18 . 

. Ill 


17 . . 

. 100 

18 . 

1-6 . . 269 

13 . 

, , 

. 368 


. 100 


. 2 

. 300 

19 . 

. 187 

19 . 

. 1 

. 125 

19 . 

1 . . 129 

24 . 

. 3 

. 346 

IV. 1-^ 

. 62 

VI. 1 . 

. . 1 

. 57 


. 110 

1 . 

. 1 

. 369 

3 . 

3 . . 297 

1 . 

. 2 



5 . . 370 



. 163 


. 3 

155, 229 

4 . 

4, 6 . . 370 

1 , 

. 3-5 

. 158 

10 . 

1-2 . . 370 


. 4 

. 399 

10 . 

2-4 . . 67 


. 4f. 

. 405 

10 . 

5 118,144,402 


• • • 

. 162 


. 114 

2 . 

, , 

. 191 



2 . 

. 1 

. 130 

14 . 

3 . 346, 354 

2 . 

. 3 

. 185 

15 . 

5 335, 359, 409 





6 . . 332 


, , 

. 234 


1-3 . . 187 


. 1 

. 196,292 

V. 1 

. 6-12 . . 104 

3 . 

. 2 

. 406 


15 . . 268 


. 3 



2 . . 125 

4 . 

. 1-4 

. 168 


3 . . 333 

4 . 

. 2-3 

. 218 


4 . . 57 

4 . 

. 5,7 

. 158 


7 . . 18 


. 291 



8 . 

. 1 

. 297 



8 . 

. 2 

. 297 

328, 397, 411 

8 . 

. 3,6 . 

. 298 


. 293 

8 . 

. 6 


9 . 

1 . . 295 

8 , 

. 7f. . 

. 39 

10 . 

. 368, 371 


J . . . 


10 . 

. 1 . 68,373 


. 1 

. 214 


. 1-2 . . 216 

10 . 

. 2 

. 197 




Chdndogya — continued 

Chdndogya — continued 

rapfttbaka Khanda 





VI. 10 

. 5-6 





. 3 





. 202 


. 4 

134, 267 


, , 


71, 214 


. 4-5 

. 269 


. 2 


. 356 





. 1-2 



. 85, 367, 370 f. 

VII. 1 



57, 347 



. 2-3 





. 3 






. 384 




. 100 


^ , 

. 384 




. 115 



, , 

. 222 


. 1 


. 274 




. 190 





. 103 



. 395 


M . 


. 402 



. 392 


83 . 


. 275 



. 389 



. 144 



. 287 

24 . 

. 1 





. 391 




. 152 



. 394 


. 1 


. 165 


. 2 


. 163 

Oaudapdda (Mdn4iikya'Kdrikd) 

'^III. 1 

. 2 
. 1 
. 3 


. 350 

. 393 




. 3-4 

. 145 

. 346, 354 


. 5 


148, 209 


. 311 

. 6 


. 209 


. 352,363 




. 401 



. 1 

. 301 


. 1-2 


. 76 



. 25 

. 155 


. 2 


210, 345 


. 150 


. 4 



33 f. 

. 309 


. 5 

. 131 


. 138 


. 1 





. 11-31 

. 156 


. 2 

138, 233, 354 


. 345 


. 3 


. 210 


. 305 


. 3 




. 235 


. 1 


. 288 


. 138 


. 1-5 


. 358 


. 345 


. 3 

.298, 307 f. 


. 6 


289, 359 



. 1 






. 284 


. . 


. 175 


• • 

. 391 




. 94 



• • 

. 287 


. 2 


. 304 




. 298 



. 1 


. 307 



. r 

•6, 235, 405 


. 1 


. 354 




. 355, 409 



ts'd — continued 









. 78 

. 190 
. 149 
. 352 

148, 212 

155, 235 
. 282 

1-2 .... 380 

4 . . . 295, 369, 373 f. 

376 f., 380 

5 . . . . 380,382 

6 . . . . 377 f., 380 


3 27 

3-4 .... 73 

8 153 

12 300 

18-23 .... 353 

19 225 


1.2 . .374 
2 . . . .138, 380 f. 

2.3 ... 378,381 

4 . . 295, 375, 380 f., 382 

5 . . . 379 f., 381 f. 


1 122,255 

3 407 

17 64 

II. 1-6 77 

6 274 

7-9. . . . 78,397 

8 72 

12 385 

14 ... . 153,155 

15 390 

18 . . . 147, 155, 403 
20 . . . 78, 152 f., 177 





Kdthaka — continued 


21 . .• . .149 

22 152 

78, 177, 3a3, 407 
. 72 

24 . 

25 . 

8 . 
4 . 
13 . 
15 . 

1 . 
4 . 

9 . 


2 . 

3 . 

6 . 

7 . 
12 . 

13 . 
16 . 
1 . 

7 . 

8 . 

9 . 

10-11, 17 
12 . 


. 222 
. 274 
. 259 
. 201 
. 249 
. 386 

. 149, 153 
. 137 
. 152 
. 354 
. 170 
. 173 
44,152, 157 f., 162 
. 170 
. 204 
. 278 
. 153 
197, 296, 338 
. 166 
. 351 
. 212 

. 137 f., 403 
. 274 
. 201 
. 249 
. 162 
. 73 
. 386 
. 404 
. 84 
. 361 

I. . . 

2 . 

3 . 

18, 24, 67, 216, 411 

. 197, 360 

. 337 

. 368 



Kaush itaki~cor\ tinued 

I. I 




6 . 

7 . 
5 . 
10 . 

3 . 

4 . 


8 . 

19 . 


. 174 

. 131, 258 

19U, 199, 247 

15f., 89 

124, 27G 

. 218 

. 337 

M, 118, 134 

272, 307 

117, 139 

. 118 

. 272 

44, 144, 170, 176 

205, 210, 234, 272 

ITf., 24, 38, 87, 89 

115, 208, 215 

. 89 

. 208> 288, 369 

. 307 

Ka itdiUaki Brdhm ay a 
25 . . 1 






. 138 

i'-8 . 

. 139 



. 83f. 


. 14 


. 269 



83, 404 


. 351 



. 174 


1 7-1:3 

. 205 



. 154 




. 59 




. 387 f., 389 



. 389 





. 389 


. 394 



. 290 


. 387 


I. ' . 











1 . 

2 . 

3 . 

4 . 

3 . 
6 . 

2 . 

4 . 

3 . 
4, 9, 33 

9 . 

10 . 
15 . 

17 . 

18 . 

19 . 

22 . 

23 . 

24 • 
24, 26, 28 

. 190 

. 367 
. 365 
. 152 
. 37 
. 171 
. 393 
114, 218 

63, 367 
. 10 
. 294 
. 385 

63, 123 

122, 255 
172, 276 
. 285 
70, 373 
. 119 
. 390 
. 385 
. 275 
. 125 
. 282 
. 247 
. 153 
152, 224 
85, 311, 394 
. 389 
. 392 
. 392 
. 395 
. 386 
. 146 
138, 235 
. 390 



Maiirdyana— continued 

Munddka — coTitiniie<l 







27 . 

. 219 


1 . 




. 283 

2 . 




. 284 

2 . 

3,4 . . 



. 288 

2 . 

.4 . . 


28 . 

. 395 





. 393 

2 . 

8 34G, 352, 354 

29 . 


2 . 

.9 . . 


30 . 

. 387 

2 . 

. 10 . . 


34 . 

. 125, 352 


1 . 

. 1,2 . . 




. 275 

2 . 

. 1 . . 




2 . 

.2 . . 


11 . 

. 262,311 

2 . 



2 . 

6 27,59,316,361 



2 . 

.8 . . 


3 . 

. 300 

2 . 

. 10, 11 . 



. 291 

2 . 



4 . 

. 305 

5 . 

. 308 


6 . 

. 222 

1 . 


7 . 

. 21 

J5, 299, 310 



12 . 




12 . 
17 . 




. 187 


37 . 

89 f. 

. 193 
. 292 
. 274 


3 . 




76 . 

. 219 


1 . 



1 . 





2 . 




6 . 



1 . 


. 167 



. 148 



. 152, 404 




. 7 

. 164 



8,9 . 


1 '. 




. 10 

. 338 

2 . 

. 171 



. 232 

8 . 






. 1 

2,3 . 

. 206 
. 202 

10 . , 





. 267 

1 . 

. . . • 



. 4 

. 163 

2 . 

• • • . 


1 . 


. 338 

3 . 

. 378,381 

1 . 


. 369 

4 . 

■ • • • 





/iigrreda— continued 







. 125 


80 . 


. 340 

2 . 


. 292 


. 3 

. 322 


, , 




. 7-11 

. 321 


10 . 

. 8 
. If. 

. 320 
. 319 



. 10 

. 320 


9 . 

. 63 


. 182 


. 338 

72 . 

. 4-6 

. 190 

10 . 




. 182 


. 295 


. 1 

75, 165 





. • 

. 182 

4 . 

. 102 


. 6 

. 229 


. 107 


. 15 

. 318 



. 261 


. 5 

. 336 

3 . 


211, 259 


. 106,139,182 

5 . 

. 279 


6 . 

. 290 


. 2 

. 229 


2 . 

. 271 


. 3 

. 165 


. 279 


. 13-14 

107, 267 

5 . 

. 304 


182, 206, 248 




. 1 

. 187, 199 

8 . 

. 192 


. • 

. 182 


. 390 



. 182 

5 . 

. 386 


. 1 

. 128 

6 . 

. 308 


. 2 

. 229 



. 102 


. 3 

. 187, 190 

5 . 

140, 403 


. 2 

. 66 

6 . 

. 268 






. 8-10 

. 251 


. 214 



. 36 

. 221 


. 217 


. 10, 14 

. 193 

84 . 




. 7 

. 266 



. 217 


. 22 

. 264 

92 . 

. 127 


. 6 

. 264, 270 



. 17 

. 156 





. 8 

. 280 





2-6 . 

. 319 





229, .398 

1 . 

. 255 


5 . 


. 322 


. 252 

26 . 


. 317 

21 . 

. 246 

27 . 


. 317 


10 . 

. 282 


47 . 



229, 318 


. 241 





1 374f. 

2 . . . . 375,379 
4 . . . .279, 379 f. 


5-8 299 

9f 283 

9-13 .... 146 

10 275 

16 282 

19 207 

21 127 

S'atapatha Brdhmana 





3 . 

3. 9 




1 . 

. 1. 

, , 



1 . 

. 1. 1 



6 . 

. 2. 4 




1 . 

. 4. 14 



1 . 

5. 4 , 



2 . 

6. 19 



3 . 

3. 5-8 



4 . 

3. 10 



5 . 

4. 15 



6 . 


343 f. 


6 . 

3. 2 








2 . 

6. 14 


2 . 

. 7. 33 


3 . 

3. 1 


4 . 

4. 1 



9 . 

. 1. 1 


9 . 

3. 12 



7 . 

. 1. 1 


8 . 

. 1.5 





1 . 

2 . 


3 . 




5 . 


S'vetds'valara — continned 







6 . 
8, 9, 12 
14 . 

8 . 
10 . 
2 . 

4 . 

9 . 

19 . 

20 . 
1 . 
12 . 
6 . 

10 . 
18 . 

1 . 

2 . 

3 . 

5 . 

6 . 

9 . 

12 . 

13 . 

4 . 

5 . 

10 . 

11 . 

12 . 

13 . 

14 . 
17 . 




















. 200 
. 190 
178, 246, 405 
56, 131, 1.38, 200,352 
131, 154 
. 200 


. 260 
. 224 
. 213 
. 86 
. 153 
. 171 
. 213 
. 153 
224, 251, 253 
213, 226 
. 152 
164, 246 
140, 213 
. 178 
. 213 
. 212 
. 137 
. 152 



S'vetds^vaia/ra — continued 
T 17-18 
18 . 

Talavakdra Up, Brdhm. 

19 . 

21 . 

22 . 


. 247 

. 200 

. 162, 170 

. 367 f., 373: III. 

11,27,69,73, IV, 


Tai^tirlya Brdhmana 


dhy&ya Kha94i^ 
[I. 2.9.1 
10 . 11 

10 . 11 

11 . 8 

12 . 9 
12 . 9 




. 128 
. 325 
. 326 
. 326 
. 343 



I . 

3 . 

4 . 
9 . 

II . 







. 119 


. 370 

69, 365 

293, 371 

10, 34, 82, 97, 144 

126, 170, 194 

. 283 1 

. 274 I 

68, 364, 404 

. 64, 146 

24, 76, 172, 185 

196, 234, 246, 406 

98, 129, 204, 211 

. 114, 143, 145 

. 351 


. 116, 180, 222 

60 . 
60 . 
1 . 








Vdjcuaneyi ISamhitd 

31 . .18 

32 . .8. 

34 . . 1-6 . 

43 . 

. 343 

. 223 

183, 271 

97 . 


10 . 









. 220 

. 391 

171, 393 

. 389 


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